Admitting You’re Wrong

I’ve been fortunate to know many people who appear in the media.   I’ve been proud to know these people on an intimate basis and call them both patient and friend.   Indeed, I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to interact with such interesting people. On the front page of Saturday’s New York Times, a former patient Dr. Robert Spitzer was featured.

Bob and Janet had to move away as a result of his battle with Parkinson’s disease, as the article mentions.  Bob, mentioned in Wikipedia as “the most influential Psychiatrist of the 20th century,” recanted a position he took on homosexuality, that some “highly motivated” individuals could undergo therapy to change their sexual orientation.  The healthcare community has obviously moved beyond such an archaic notion and never attempted to “change” a person’s sexual orientation.  I give Bob a lot of credit.   It takes a big man to admit that he was wrong and doing so on the front page of the Times takes a lot of courage.   Bravo Robert.

Many of my patients are well-known psychiatrists.   I’ve joked that when they come in, we should switch positions and I should lie down and they sit.  This week, I spoke to one who is on the current DSM V team, just as Robert Spitzer headed the DSM III panel.  DSM is the “Bible” that is used by the health care industry to categorize and define mental illness.  It helps clarify a very difficult area of medicine and is constantly evolving.

I’ve been privileged to know many psychiatrists who have worked on the DSM teams.   I can categorically tell you that they are wonderful, well-meaning individuals who are seeking to perform a service to society by making mental illness more defined.  In fact, all the Health Care Professionals I know share this; A desire to HELP humanity, not just themselves.  That’s really what sets us apart.  If we wanted to just help ourselves, we’d have chosen a different path, not healthcare.

Realization and acknowledgement that health professionals want to help and truly care for their patients is a source of the trust the public gives to healthcare practitioners.   When that trust is misplaced, it is a blow to each of us.  The reason I wrote What The Tooth Fairy Didn’t Tell You is to help you “trust” the correct dentist.  We are each human, subjected to pressures and circumstances to which we have to adapt and respond.   Some respond better than others.  Your job is to find the right team for your needs and to monitor your results.   It’s a continuous process that is aided by knowledge.

I will continue to help you by discussing topics of importance in Dentistry so you can ‘trust’ the care and advice you’re given by your oral health providers.

So…keep tuning in and ask questions!

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