Have you read this? PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine

Nurses General Nursing


Came across this article on Medscape and wanted to know if anyone has read this book yet and what they think. I have not read it but plan to get it, I am always interested in all different sides of matters.Interesting the reference to nurses. Here is the excerpt from the review on Medscape:

PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine

By Sally Satel, MD

Basic Books (Perseus Books Group)

Copyright 2000

256 pages

ISBN 0-465-07182-1

$27.00 hardcover

Reviewed by: Hector D. Ceccoli, MD; Karla Kinderman Ceccoli, JD, LLM

Physicians, health policy makers, and others will enjoy reading -- though they may not always agree with -- Dr. Sally Satel's perspective in PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine. Dr. Satel, a practicing psychiatrist in Washington, DC, an AWH Brady Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and lecturer at Yale University School of Medicine, contends that medicine is becoming "infiltrated" by social activists, scholars, and even health professionals who put politics before sound medical practice. Left unchecked, this extremely active and influential minority will change medicine from an evidence- and outcome-based discipline to one that is based in politics. Consequently, the standard of care will decline, and patients will become the ultimate victims of "politically correct medicine."

To illustrate her contention, Dr. Satel describes a plethora of problematic trends toward "politically correct medicine" in public health, mental healthcare, clinical research, and nursing and medical training. Here is a taste of the trends she describes:

A few influential public health academics are attempting to expand public health's mission from the practical prevention of injury and disease into the reform or redesign of society, based on the assumption that social conditions -- as opposed to individual's responses to those conditions -- are the primary reason for illness. Such an expanded and grandiose mission, argues Dr. Satel, is diverting important attention to the more traditional mission of public health and ignoring the fact that each individual, not society, is responsible for his or her own health.

Former psychiatric patients and their civil rights lawyers are fighting for more freedom for mental health patients, believing that even the severely mentally ill should not be forced to take antipsychotic drugs or be hospitalized. Dr. Satel argues that this group's advocacy is resulting in denial or refusal of appropriate care to patients who truly need social and pharmacologic treatments in order to protect others and themselves.

Nurses disgruntled by a male-dominated system are leading a rebellion against the medical establishment and are foolishly trying to distance themselves from mainstream medicine. Dr. Satel argues that this trend becomes apparent in some nursing literature -- which has gone through less than rigorous scientific review -- and nurses' reliance on or misuse of alternative therapies, in particular therapeutic touch. The nurses' rebellion, Dr. Satel argues, is resulting in the administration of medically inappropriate treatment. Citing several examples in which nurses have not acted as well-trained health professionals, Dr. Satel argues for a return to basic nursing principles.

Women's health advocates are claiming gender bias in clinical research. Dr. Satel offers several rational explanations for why women seem to be underrepresented in certain clinical trials. She then makes valid and well-supported arguments that such claims of gender bias are causing a misalignment of this country's national research priorities.

Civil rights activists are claiming race bias in medicine and are attempting to improve minority health by advocating racial preferences for medical training. Dr. Satel argues that such an approach is wrong primarily because: (1) as she demonstrates, the claims of race bias are not well supported; (2) there is no compelling evidence that same-race physician-patient relationships result in better outcomes; and (3) affirmative action has allowed some minority students to embark on a career for which they are not intellectually prepared.

Again, this is just a sample of the trends Dr. Satel uses to illustrate her contention that medicine is becoming "infiltrated" by social activists, scholars, and health professionals that put politics before sound medical practice. Throughout the book, Dr. Satel provides numerous examples of the "infiltration." She consistently argues against misguided advocates who are attempting to make medicine "politically correct," which typically translates into forcing health professionals to view patients as victims of social circumstances. Instead, Dr. Satel calls upon medicine to continue to be evidence- and outcome-based and upon patients to take responsibility for their actions as opposed to blaming circumstances such as race, traumatic events, and society for their illnesses.

Occasionally, Dr. Satel seems to simply react in opposition to the advocates with whom she disagrees without offering a middle-ground solution. At these times, Satel's extremely conservative views seem just as dangerous as those on the liberal end of the spectrum. Despite this caveat, we recommend PC, MD: How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine. The book provides food-for-thought and an interesting read.

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