Judgment in Medicine

“Only God can judge me.” Tupac Shakur rapped these famous lyrics in his All Eyez on Me Album in 1996. Although this song stands far removed from the field of medicine, the statement “only God can judge me” is a reflection of one of our modern culture’s values: we simply do not like being judged.
This truth seems to resonate particularly in clinics and hospitals throughout the US. Physicians see patients of all different colors, shapes, and sizes and many of these patients enter into clinics with emotional wounds inflicted from previous physicians’ lack of judgmental tact. These patients have been negatively looked upon because of their skin color, weight, gender and countless other reasons resulting in an understandable defensiveness towards any medical professional. In addition, a fair number of patients, myself included, while not completely jaded, have had significant negative experiences with doctors. One of the most dangerous pathologies identified in a doctor’s office, ironically has nothing to do with actual “medicine”. What hurts the most is diagnosing the prejudice influencing our physicians’ health care.

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