Someone goes to their GP complaining about chest pains, and the GP refers the person for tests. They might get an ECG, a chest x-ray and an ultrasound. If the patient asks during the tests what the technician is seeing, they will probably be told that the tech is not allowed to comment because it has to go through the doctor. And then when the tests and done and get interpreted, who gets the results? You’d think it would be the human being who owns the body that is being tested. But, NO! The results go to the doctor first.

It seems very reasonable to suggest that the patient should be the first person to see test results about their own body. Doctors will argue that the patient cannot properly interpret the result. What could be more of an elitist position? Of course, the patient may not properly understand, and THEN they can ask their doctor (or Dr. Google, or a friend) for assistance. We humans do this all the time – seek out information and clarification for things we don’t completely understand. But it feels very paternalistic to have a system where the doctor sees your results and decides what and when to share with you. It’s your body.

Years ago I attended a conference of psychiatric survivors (individuals who have lived through the horrors of psychiatric treatment) and the keynote speaker suggested that we should do away with prescriptions. As much as I pride myself on being good at “thinking outside the box” I have to admit my initial reaction was that this was TOO radical. I even thought the speaker was just being provocative by making crazy suggestions. But afterwards I thought about his arguments and they made great sense. We have the ability to research drugs (including their side effects and interactions with other drugs). We get to pick the recreational drugs (including alcohol) that we consume. A big part of our research might be asking our doctors for information and guidance. But at the end of the day, it’s worth considering that it ought to be up to us to decide whether we want to take a certain drug.

There’s a line between support/guidance/caring, and control, and it may be that our society has allowed the medical profession to cross over that line.