On Monday night I watched the latest episode of the medical series "House" on Fox. I watch this program for amusement, and to some extent because it annoys my twenty-somethng daughter to hear me discount many of the thought processes the "team" is supposedly engaging in to demonstrate how smart they are. This week, for example they tried to "rule out lead poisoning" by sending someone out to the patient's home to look for something she might have been exposed to. I know this is good TV, but it is VERY BAD medicine.
As an inpatient pediatrician, I and my colleagues are often presented with patients who have problems that are not easily diagnosed. Sometimes, when I have been caring for a child with such an illness, a parent will say to me: "We wish you were Doctor House." At which point I usually engage them in a conversation about what they expect from their physician. I point out all the bad and inappropriate behaviors demonstrated on the show, and tell them that I have spent most of my professional life trying to act in a professional and respectful manner.
I had many issues with this week's episode, and it is certainly NOT my intent to write a critique of the series, or spend too much of your time recounting what went on. What I really would like is to see comments from the readers (and I know that there are several hundred of you reading this) about what you expect from your physician, in terms of ability to make the correct diagnosis, but also in terms of behavior and professionalism--with patients, with families and with colleagues.
I look forward to reading your comments.