'Woke' medicine is coming to a hospital near you
Following the Civil Rights movement, physicians took seriously their obligation to treat all patients. This principle separated them from the federal government's grotesque 40-year-long Tuskegee Experiment that saw doctors refrain from treating syphilitic Black men in Alabama. Racist physicians were driven out of practice, and all physicians were expected to treat racist patients.
It's different now. According to Katie Herzog, writing at Bari Weiss's Substack blog, Critical Race Theory is aggressively intruding on physicians' ability to treat patients, do research, or train the next generation of doctors.
Herzog's "What Happens When Doctors Can't Tell the Truth?" examines a world in which doctors are silenced for fear that they will be destroyed professionally should they run afoul of the Critical Race Theory infecting medical care across America and in which young doctors, imbued with "anti-racist" zeal, have the whip hand. Herzog begins her article by describing a super-secret Zoom group of a dozen physicians across America, who serve as a support group for each other as they navigate the totalitarian world of woke medicine:
This dogma goes by many imperfect names — wokeness, social justice, critical race theory, anti-racism — but whatever it's called, the doctors say this ideology is stifling critical thinking and dissent in the name of progress. They say that it's turning students against their teachers and patients and racializing even the smallest interpersonal interactions. Most concerning, they insist that it is threatening the foundations of patient care, of research, and of medicine itself.
The article acknowledges that some traditional health care protocols have not served minority patients well. However, that's a small problem compared to the chilling effect wokeness is having on physician's ability to provide good medical care and, just as importantly, to train rigorously the next generation of doctors:
I've heard from doctors who've been reported to their departments for criticizing residents for being late. (It was seen by their trainees as an act of racism.) I've heard from doctors who've stopped giving trainees honest feedback for fear of retaliation. I've spoken to those who have seen clinicians and residents refuse to treat patients based on their race or their perceived conservative politics.
Doctors rightly fear purges — which is a huge deal to people who spent a minimum of seven grueling years getting their professional training (four years of medical school plus three years as an intern and resident) and, possibly, many more years to specialize. They're burdened with debt and are still trying to achieve a comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle for themselves and, even more importantly, their children. Being driven from the practice as a "racist" destroys their world:
"People are afraid to speak honestly," said a doctor who immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union. "It's like back to the USSR, where you could only speak to the ones you trust." If the authorities found out, you could lose your job, your status, you could go to jail or worse. The fear here is not dissimilar.
Read on, and you learn about Norman Wang, a cardiologist who was demoted at the University of Pittsburgh for publishing a paper saying that 50 years of data showed that affirmative action and other diversity initiatives did not increase the percentage of Black or Hispanic cardiologists or affect patient outcomes. To his credit, Wang is now suing.
Doctors also fear the next generation — and you, as a patient, should, too. An older Jewish doctor describes how, in the past, he slowly, steadily, and through principled treatment changed an anti-Semitic patient's life and attitudes for the better. Now, though, medical students, interns, and residents judge patients. They feel obligated to instruct the ones who run afoul of the young doctors' woke sensibilities. And there's worse:
As another example of the generation gap, an ER doctor on the West Coast said he sees providers, particularly younger ones, applying antiracist principles in choosing how they allocate their time and which patients they choose to work with. "I've heard examples of Covid-19 cases in the emergency department where providers go, 'I'm not going to go treat that white guy, I'm going to treat the person of color instead because whatever happened to the white guy, he probably deserves it.'"
The only way to stand up to what's happening is through collective action. Woke people, drunk with power and the urge to avenge wrongs that predate their births, quickly form mobs that surround and destroy anyone who offends them. The only way to end them is to out-mob them — and every American institution had better act quickly, or soon America will look like China at the height of its bloody Cultural Revolution.
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