The “God Syndrome” of Doctors

Why Humility for Patient Knowledge and Respect for Test Data is Essential

2 min readJan 10, 2022
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Doctors have a “God syndrome”. They think they know too much and patients are dumb. That we as patients need to be “patient” with whatever they tell us and ask us to do.

Unfortunately for doctors, the internet with its resources on medicines, medical conditions, research and other data has become a great leveler of knowledge. Nowadays, AI bots are doing as good as our GP nearby.

Anyone who is literate in science and math, and has the inclination to learn about their health conditions researching the internet can understand a lot in terms of their medical condition and medicines. This is not rocket science.

Of course, what a doctor brings to the table is their experience, cross-disciplinary, and procedural knowledge. That’s why we go to them. And we should respect them for that.

But it doesn’t mean the patient is dumb and doctors can treat us any way they want. That they don’t need to answer our questions or cannot be challenged by our knowledgeable doubts.

A patient, just because they are living with their condition and are researching it day in and out, may have more ideas and knowledge than a doctor who’s hearing them out for 10 mins. Dismissing their questions and suggestions is ridiculous on part of a doctor.

Doctors need to understand, for us as patients, they are no more than a car mechanic or electrician we call to fix things paying money. Other “professionals” like lawyers, chartered accountants, civil engineers, and consultants we hire spend hours on our case and give us solutions for what they charge.

Only electricians and mechanics fix things for us in 10–15 mins of consultation. So doctors need to understand they are doing a service to a paying customer. And behave their part in being a good service staff.

Thinking and acting like gods but doing a shoddy job like a bad electrician or plumber makes them look silly. It brings disrepute to their profession. And soon AI and robotics may make many of them go jobless.

It’s time many doctors develop some humility, learn and do their jobs well, and give respect to patients’ knowledge and understanding. Also, dear doctors, do the damn tests to get data. It is not easy to diagnose someone well without good data when cheap and safe tests are available to get.