Is There a Surgical Monopoly on Celebrity?

With Dr. Oz being feted at a gala, and Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon, weighing in on lactose intolerance, I got to thinking. Why the surgical media-monopoly?

Don’t believe me? Line ’em up and take a count: Mehmet Oz, Nancy Snyderman, Manny Alvarez, Atul Gawande, and Sanjay Gupta (surgeon, surgeon, surgeon, surgeon, and…oh wait, what a surprise…surgeon).

Where among these celebridocs are the hand-holding internists, primary care, and family practice physicians? Sure, one or two of the current A-listers we have now might have chosen a different organ to receive their 11-blade scalpel flicks and 7-0 polypropylene one-handed ties. But looking for any real specialty-diversity in this group is like trying to identify the fruitiest grain of rice. Hey, as an audience we might even tolerate the squeaky voice and the mandatory stethoscope-dangling teddy bear, if mainstream media would only break up the monotony every now and then with a random pediatrician. Just to shake things up, you know.

So how did the voice and face of American healthcare become solely the province of those whose work-lives are devoted to flaying alive the chemically-paralyzed? What does that say about us as a nation?

But frankly, the fact is, when you take a hard look at the inherent differences between specialties, and the media priorities of health news reporting today, it’s obvious why no mainstream media platform would give a generalist mega-bucks and a microphone. Here, in descending order, are…

Should you ask these men how to lose weight? Or if that thingie on your doo-hickey is normal?

Wikimedia Commons

Should you ask these men how to lose weight? Or if that thingie on your doo-hickey is normal after sex?

Top 13* Reasons Why All A-List Celebrity Doctors Are Surgeons

Number 13: When surgeons show up for a screen-test, that creepy scalpel-twirl they do leaves a disturbing, and lingering, impression. Hard to get the same effect with a tongue depressor.


*Plus or minus a Heisenberg Uncertainty coefficient of 9.7 RVSs. For those who have not been personally subjected to its level of French-vicious-crazy-making bureaucracy, RVS stands for Medicare’s Relative Value Scale – a number that assigns a value (hence, reimbursement) for, as Darshak Shanghavi brilliantly explains here, “every single one of the thousands of services provided by doctors, a job later compared to measuring ‘the exact amount of anger in the world.'” The number is monopolistically decided by a secret cabal of invasive proceduralists [read: NOT generalists]. Seriously.

IS there a surgical media monopoly? And if so, why? Sound off in the comments section. Doc Gurley is the only Harvard Medical School graduate, ever, to be awarded the coveted Shoney’s Ten Step Pin for documented excellence in waitressing, and is both a Board- and Bored-Certified internist. You can jump on the Twitter bandwagon and follow Doc Gurley. Also check out Doc Gurley’s joyhabit and iwellth twitter feeds – so you can get topic-specific fun, effective, affordable tips on how to nurture your joy and grow your personal wellth.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments are closed.