Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why do doctors have such large egos ?

Doctors are usually quite smart. They are academically bright , as proven by the fact that they managed to get into medical college inspite of intense competition; and have successfully graduated from a demanding course. Also, while not all doctors are brain surgeons, most are intelligent and have a high opinion of their own intellectual abilities.

However, some of them are quite badly behaved. They are rude to their patients - and make them wait interminably in their waiting rooms, for no good reason. Since doctors are in the business of saving lives , some of them start behaving as if they were demiGods. It's quite easy for them to delude themselves into having a very high opinion of their worth. This is often bolstered by their patients, who look upto doctors and often worship them. ( As a pithy saying goes, the reason doctors are on pedestals is because patients are on their knees !)

There are many reasons which contribute to this inflated opinion doctors have of themselves. For one thing, many doctors interact primarily only with their patients . Because they have a very limited worldview, they view themselves as being masters of their ( little) world. Also, they are top guns in the hospital hierarchy, and are used to having nurses and assistants obey their every little whim - something which reinforces their view that they are the best !

Also, not only does a big ego seem to be an occupational hazard, it also seems to be a contagious disorder. Residents learn to acquire their "high and mighty" style from their bosses in the hospital during their rounds - and this is a trait which seems to run in certain departments ( for example, heart surgeons). It's also much commoner in doctors who work in hospitals ( as compared to those who own their own clinics).

However, I think the real reason some doctors have such an inflated ego is because they have low self esteem - and an inferiority complex, which they try to hide . Many of them earn much less than their peers - and it's well known that MD postgraduates earn a fraction of their MBA colleagues. This burns many doctors up - especially when they recollect that these same MBA grads did much worse than they did in school. This is why some doctors need to primp and preen to show their patients who is the boss !

Good doctors, who have high self-esteem, do not need to put on these false airs and waste their time in posturing !

But talking about doctors and egos does remind me of this old joke.

A man dies & goes to Heaven.

Upon arriving at the Pearly Gates he is told "Welcome to Heaven, everyone is equal here."

The man is then given a tour of Heaven and finds that it is indeed true.

The man decides he's just got to try the food & goes & stands in the cafeteria line.

While waiting ,a man in green scrubs goes rushing to the front of the line & gets his food ahead of all the others.

"Hey, I thought everyone is equal here. Why did he jump the line?"

"Oh, him?" says St Peter, "That's God, he is just playing at being a Doctor ."

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  1. I agree with you doc

  2. Michael2:52 AM

    We used to have a similar problem in the airline industry (I'm a pilot), but that was all changed after arrogance/egotism was found to be the direct cause of several fatal accidents (think KLM 747 in Tenerife). Since the 1990s, we now have compulsory training to 'learn' how to treat colleagues as equals. The medical industry is way behind in this respect. Arrogance kills!


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