You’ve probably noticed, when you’re shopping on a totally legitimate site for some bargain, or reading the drivel that passes as journalism from your Facebook feed, weird adverts. Adverts that tell you dentists are outraged that a mother has release a tooth-whitening secret, or that doctors are furious at some cure for baldness, or health professionals are scared because someone has cured erectile dysfunction… or in some other way the health industry is concerned that some amateur has either discovered or revealed something beneficial. Something you want.
This irritates me.
This won’t be a long post, I just want to explain why this irritates me.
Firstly, they are always a lie! The assumption is that doctors have been holding back in favour of something more profitable, but they simply haven’t. I can say that with confidence because I live in the UK and no doctor, nurse, therapist, dentist or dietician gets more money depending on what you use. Conceivably, big pharmaceutical companies might but they are not the front line. The people who make things available to you on the NHS have no personal stake in profitable methods over cheap ones. In fact, we have a body called ‘National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’ (NICE) whose job it is to advise on the most cost effective way to run a hospital. (Side note: “cost effective” is not a dirty word. If you have a limited budget, getting the biggest bang for your buck is important.)
Secondly, in addition to the outright lie, it’s the aesthetic of a conspiracy theorist. It forms a part of our daily narrative as if conspiracy is everywhere. It implicitly accuses doctors of not having the patients best interests at heart. The underlying message is that healthcare professionals are not to be trusted. That these adverts spread mistrust for earn their own profit (as click bait, I’m sure) is outrageous. If you are sick, mistrusting the healthcare industry may be the most dangerous thing you can do. If you think you have the right to boycott the healthcare industry based on your own mistaken mistrust, consider it this way: when parents mistrust the healthcare system and their children get sick…
The adverts are innocuous to well-informed rational mind. So bothering to post this might seem like a waste. However, a considerable proportion of the population don’t have the time to be well-informed or aren’t confident enough in their ability to think rationally. That is a vulnerable group of people who are not equipped to really consider whether the hospital is the best place for them while sick. And that is understandable.