Hitting a Nerve

Agreeing to disagree


 

Recently, I encountered a physician who was surprised that other doctors hadn’t voted the same way he did in the election. He felt that one candidate had been so clearly the obvious choice for physicians that it didn’t make sense that others voted differently.

Generalizations like this are always difficult for me to understand. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the human brain is how, in spite of it looking quite similar between humans, it produces such strikingly different individuals.

To say all doctors should agree is no different from saying everyone in a certain ethnic group, or religious background, or geographical region should agree. Obviously, if people did all agree, there would be no need for elections at all.

Physicians, like accountants, construction workers, lawyers, teachers, firemen, and nurses, are people from many walks of life. Most of us are in it to help people, but we often disagree on what the best ways are to do so. You’ll see these differences manifest at tumor boards, grand rounds, and nurses stations. So why is it a surprise that they appear in political views, too?

I tend to believe that this diversity is good (as is a polite respect for the opinions of others) because it often leads to finding the best solution using ideas from both sides. In most things, no one is absolutely right or wrong. People – doctors included – are a remarkably heterogeneous group in behaviors and opinions. One paintbrush will never cover all of them, nor should it.

That, like so many other things in our lives, is human nature. And years of medical training will (hopefully) never take that away. I think that’s a good thing.

Dr. Block has a solo neurology private practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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