Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, but no Dr. Joe. Why?

I wish to begin this post with full disclosure. I am bitterly jealous of Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. I always wanted to have my own TV show.

(I also always wanted to be in the movies, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Now, I’m going to actually give Dr. Phil a pass. For a few reasons.

First, even though most people think he’s a psychiatrist, he’s not an MD. He has a PhD in Psychology.

Second, his claim to fame was always in some ways media related, so, the fact that he has his own show and makes $70 million a year doesn’t bother me that much.

Well, it does, but what am I going to do about it?

Now Dr. Oz, on the other hand, is a completely different animal.

He is a cardio thoracic surgeon who had an academic career and worked at Cornell Medical Center.

He went to Harvard undergrad, making him and me kindred spirits.

However, unlike me, he was able to get himself involved with Oprah, and Ta-Da! Fame and Fortune!
Now, I’m not a complete stranger to the media.

When I served as President of the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society, I had many opportunities to appear on news programs on TV and radio and be quoted in the newspapers.

What struck me the most is that during a 2 minute segment, I’d have the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of people.

More than I could ever reach in my practice career. Or even 100 practice careers.

I loved the fact that, here I was, able to dispel a myth or explain a medical fact to so many, in the hopes of improving people’s understanding of medicine.

If I had my own show, I thought, how much more could I do?

Dr. Oz does have his own show. And despite his impressive credentials, his reputation was marred by his promotion of dubious treatments and products.

So much so, that he literally was called before Congress to be berated.

Things like green coffee extract, “energy therapies”, faith healing and homeopathy.

As I researched his career and read these verified charges, I had to ask myself, “Why?”
Why would someone of his stature promote things like this? Is it because real medicine is just too boring for the average person?

Is it because the money he was making for his show pushed him to deal with topics that he knew would draw ratings?

But, probably the most difficult question I faced was, “Would that be what I’d become?”

And that’s a legitimate fear.

Would the incredible fame, to the point of hero worship and the massive influx of money inevitably cause me to change?

Would I be able to somehow justify spewing horseshit by convincing myself that, “Maybe this could be true?”

I’d like to think I’d be better than that, which is also why I’ll probably never have a show of my own.

There’s not a big demand for a program where a doctor tells you there’s no miracle cure, weight loss product or potion to restore your youth.

Medical science tends to be filled with things we don’t want to hear.

Exercise, don’t eat too much, don’t drink too much, or at all, get more rest, etc.

We sound more like the old village woman yelling about what everyone is doing wrong. You’ll notice that they don’t have their own shows either.

So, in the end, perhaps it’s better this way.

I have my little blog that at least reaches people interested in what I have to say, even if it’s not what they want to hear.

And, I get to keep my integrity, which in this day and age, is becoming a very rare feat.

So, no matter what you hear on TV, from a self proclaimed "expert", remember what I always tell you- Stay Skeptical!

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Filed under: Health Care

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