"The customer is always right": Does it apply in medicine?

Edwin Leap thinks not:

Attention patients and families of patients, regulators, government officials, commentators, angry bloggers and reporters: I am the physician. That makes me the expert. I realize that we live in the age of polls, surveys, empowerment and self-help. I realize that the opinion of the masses generally matters more than the opinion of the educated. But as one of the educated, as one of those who considers his opinion more valid than many others, let me say what most physicians are too nice to say. Medicine is not a democracy. I appreciate your opinion, and you may accept or refuse anything I offer. You may even tell me what you think, and what has worked before. But I get the final vote. I have earned that vote through years of caring for the sick, and I am accountable for my mistakes, as is evident by my very expensive malpractice insurance. You may refer me to any one of your resources or family members, but in the end, like it or not, one unassailable fact remains: I’m the doctor, not you. Deal with it.

(via GruntDoc)

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