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    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      I read an article written by a Yale professor of medicine bemoaning the suicide rate of doctors. She gave some reasons, such as burnout and overwork, but the one that caught my eye was the decline in trust of doctors so they don't get the respect they used to.

      I wonder about this often, partly because I'm a scientist by background who has watched our nation's trust in science seemingly decline. It may have stayed at historic levels except wrt vaccines, climate science, and food science (GMO-related).

      Trust in the military is higher than for anything else.

      So the Chris hypothesis: is it possible to simply follow the money? We negative campaign on health care, the media, climate scientists, and only say positive things about the military so...we got what we paid for?

    • Richard

      So the Chris hypothesis: is it possible to simply follow the money?

      That's probably a bit of an over-simplification. The clearest case would be regarding climate change, in which fossil fuel corporations have spent a fortune to obfuscate what the entire world knows and acknowledges. But even here, it's a little more complicated. The old-guard Republicans are in a bind because free markets cannot solve environmental problems; only government regulation can and this conflicts with their ideology. So they simply deny the problem exists. Jane Mayer's book, Dark Money has a good discussion of this issue.

      It's not clear that there is any vested interest behind the anti-vaxer movement. Big measles? Seems like more of a knee-jerk conspiracy theory. That's not to say that medical research and practice have not been corrupted by pharma money, which seems pretty clear. But I doubt this is well known enough to account for a decline in trust of doctors. More likely it's the result of a general decline in the confidence in elites, which is in part due to a calculated effort to gain and maintain political power by denying reality. Sadly, it seems to be working.

    • AceRph

      The curious thing about the US stats in the chart above is the trust ranking versus the satisfaction rating. Kinda weird. I'm not sure what it means.

      Maybe the satisfaction number will drop when Jeff Sessions and the rest of the drug warrior bunch are through screwing with the chronic pain folks.

    • DanSolarMan

      I had cancer two years ago. Then a mrsa infection brought on by the chop shop that was cleaning up some of the mess the other doctors created. (Their words not mine.) Skin grafts and a weekly tour to the wound care center for a full year. Fun, fun. Deburring is one of the great joys anyone can experience and after all who wouldn’t look forward to that every week?

      The first doctor told me I was was fine see you next year. Course he was retiring soon and that was all he could talk or think about. He made that clear with every visit. The next one said I had six mo’s to live. Had I listened to the first one I’d be real dead right now. In the meantime my son decided to end his life at the barrel of a gun. I write these things not for any sort of sympathy only by way of explanation that life can sometimes be hell on earth. So doctors funerals hospitals and many other things went on at the time that are just not going to be written about here, Losing everything can either destroy you or make you stronger. When we received the phone call about our son I looked at my beautiful wife and said. “This will not destroy us, this will make us stronger” Maybe a weird thing to say at the time but God gave her to me and I wasn’t about to let go. I’d heard about so many that had let tragedy ruin their marriages.

      I say these things because in the days and weeks that needles and every other implement that was poked into my body I met someof the most caring compassionate people that walk the planet earth. But they ALL had one thing in common. FEAR. Fear that their livelihoods their future their dreams were going to be taken away by some sue happy lawyer bent on ruining their life.

      I have a very simple solution to this problem. I’ve had it for years. Problem is it will never be implemented. It involves a change to our legal system which Chris creates more problems than the money given greed that is cancer itself.

      Thru this all I’ve learned one thing, hold your hand out in front of you and push love and God out front. If your faith is strong enough to withstand this truth you will find peace.

      In the meantime mans greed has destroyed trust. Really the only answer I have is God himself.

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      Ace, I saw that too and wondered. The article where that chart was published guessed that it reflected a lack of trust in the health care system, but liking their doctor. And that's how I feel about it too. My experience with individual doctors has been great, but they are rushed and at the mercy of insurance companies.

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      Oh my God, Dan, I can't imagine. Loss of a child is every parent's worst nightmare and maybe cancer is next. Sometimes when I think my life is hard (who doesn't sometimes?) I feel privileged to hear from people like you who somehow muster the strength to carry on with a positive attitude. You inspire me. Contrast that with people who seemingly have everything and yet they're angry because it's not enough.

      Here is another chart I find fascinating. It's astonishing how this varies by country.

    • kikoteixeira

      Doctors are human and operate by the same virtues and limitations governing regular people. Some doctors are in it for the money, others pass on more lucrative specialties to help the homeless. In any case, you have to look at the incentive structure under which they operate and the systematic problems it creates. Some aspects have been thouched upon by previous posts: insurance compensation, fear of lawsuits, etc. To me, the question of trust in doctors is really about whether the whole system is working: obamacare, medicare, medicaid, law, preventive vs reactive care, health education, medical education, etc. It is no surprise that small, culturally homogenous advanced countries are at the top of the trust meter.

    • DanSolarMan

      It is so complicated. I went to a store yesterday and a man was in a rush for the door. I opened it and said, after you. We smiled at each other and our days were better because of it.

      Trust has been so broken down that our societal norms have become me, me, me,!

      The vitriol that is allowed on the Internet is beyond what we would ever treat and say to each other in a polite society. Not to mention putting ones self behind the wheel of a five ton hunk of metal. I received a google review the other day. I knew where it came from. Really there was no reason for it. It was solely designed to hurt. They do, They hurt business. So I called google. They simply don’t care. As long as the review meets their guidelines it’s A OK with them. Doesn’t have to be true. Guilty with no recourse but a response. Not only that but I inquired and was told that a person could create a 100 fake accounts and leave bad reviews on all of them. No name recognition verification required. So asked a few of my friends to go to google and say nice truthful things about business dealings with me. We turned that negative into a positive. It led to a few sales and it wa great to turn that negative into a positive. Almost makes me want to start a platform for saying nice things about hard working businesses because rarely do good reviews get left. Many are competitors or just bad people such as the one left for me. Some are just people I’m the moment. In have never left a bad review, ever. I just don’t want to hurt anyone’s business even if I’m mad. I go to them.

      It’s why I’m so excited for you and your creation here Chris. The world needs more positivity to counteract the bad. I believe good will prevail!

    • I often wonder if the trust thing is more a question of "who paid whom". I cannot know everything but when I hear "climate change is the result of all that is evil" in a "study" by the union of overly concerned penguins one day and "climate change is the result of complex climate cycles" by the union of concerned goats the next, I have to wonder who is right. On the surface, both study group's names sound like both are genuinely concerned and genuinely believe their results. On the other hand, neither can be trusted as both results are polar opposites. It's become a spin game.

      Who's right? Unless you look up the groups and see who funds what, you'll never know-and many times, both sides have received substantial sums for their "research". My conclusion is until there's more transparency in science, there will be no trust. Heck, even when I watch NPR, I have to ask myself whether the contributors have any influence over the content. Directly or otherwise.

      Something else I noticed. There's a tendency to blame a political party but this has been happening for years. So let's drop the blame game and focus on the solution.

    • Chris

      There is a fascinating documentary, Merchants of Doubt, that does a wonderful job of explaining how those opposing studies come about. If you have money and you're interested in, say, selling cigarettes, you can fund happy-sounding research institutes which are really PR machines. Here's the short story of how they work (from the NYT article):

      “If you can ‘do tobacco,’ ” one of the perpetrators is quoted as saying, “you can do just about anything in public relations.” The reference is to the long campaign to obfuscate and undermine attempts to make the public aware of the dangers of cigarettes. As early as the 1950s, tobacco companies were aware — thanks to their own research — that their products were hazardous and habit forming, but they waged a prolonged and frequently successful campaign to suppress and blur the facts. Their tactics included sending dubiously credentialed experts out into the world to disguise dishonesty as reasonable doubt. “We just don’t know.” “The science is complicated.” “We need more research.”

      The pro-tobacco strategy also called for smearing critics and invoking noble ideals like personal freedom against inconvenient facts like nicotine addiction. 

      It's easier to do that for climate change and food science. The research reports are hard for the public to access or read, so the PR merchants have their way with the public, discrediting scientists along the way.

    • wx

      I'm not sure that Britain (Empire immigration) and France (North Africa immigration) count as small and culturally homogenous societies. Given the UK's issues with the NHS, I'm surprised they rank that high.

    • wx

      Transparency in science? That's what the peer review process and the publication of papers is all about. The data is laid out for all to see and critique. It often leads to scientific advances. There are no secrets.

      It's unfortunate that you chose climate science as your example. There's no question that much remains to be learned about Earth's climate, and also about why it's changing. To equate the two sides of the climate change discussion, though, when one side engages in ethical scientific practices and the other does not, is part of the problem here.

      Honesty and integrity should count for something. Right now, they often don't.

      The loudest voice is the moneyed voice. When industry feels threatened by climate regulations, when the health insurance business feels threatened by the promise of affordable healthcare, when gun manufacturers feel threatened by anything which might effect profits, they buy votes, exposure and influence public opinion in a fraudulent manner. Fraudulent, because they never reveal their true motives.

      I don't know why people have a low opinion of the medical profession in the United States (assuming that the poll is accurate.) But it's possible it's because they feel they're being gouged and taken advantage of. You yourself have expressed strong opinions on the matter, and my sense is that you're among the privileged who are able to afford proper medical care. Imagine the feelings of those who cannot (an additional four million of them since the Republicans passed their budget.)

      Nobody should die because they cannot afford healthcare. In the United States, it happens every day of the week.

    • wx

      They're not hard for scientiests to find and read. What's hard is finding a megaphone as loud as the one the moneyed research sponsor so often has.

    • cvdavis

      Add my vote for political influence and another for the Internet. The Internet lowers trust in science and doctors because there is so much nonsense readily available to people now, that was not available before. Without the critical thinking skills, people are simply misled by the plethora of pseudoscience and other nonsense arguments.

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