The Truth about Truth in Medicine

I have read one too many blogs that speak about the “Truth” in one area of medicine or another. As long as such blogs and news reports and even scientific journals perpetuate the notion that in Medicine we have the capacity to know the “Truth” we will continue to have unhappy patients and argumentative doctors. Sadly I have not yet met a man or woman in the sciences who has conversed with god about medical issues (or any other issues, for that matter). Until such time as we actually do find a way to communicate with “the big guy” we must refrain from bolstering our beliefs and contentions into the realm of the absolute. I have stated this before but I believe it requires repeating: Medicine is a process. We are continually learning, creating novel theories and abandoning old beliefs. One day we might be sure of something and the next day we laugh to ourselves as we learn how wrong we were. On a personal note, I spend a great deal of time exploring a variety of health-related issues. My studies often take me to the depths of cell biology and molecular biology. I even find myself immersed in the swamps of genetics. Each time I explore these spheres I gain greater knowledge about that which I am studying. I also reinforce my understanding about how little we (and I) actually know. Even discoveries from our Nobel Laureates become démodé as new Nobel Laureates pave different pathways. This is simply the nature of science and medicine. And it is wonderful. So I implore you to help eradicate the misperception that in Science and Medicine we have access to truth. By so doing, you will help bring a tranquility to the practice of Medicine that will in turn make doctors and patients far more comfortable in their respective roles as teachers and students. We are not and should not be considered members of the clergy.

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