Mr. W. is amazed that he was ushered back to a room as soon as he arrived at the doctor’s office. He did not have to wait like usual. Within five minutes, the doctor comes into the examining room. “Mr. W., thank you for coming in so quickly. I moved you to the top of the list so I could see you. I am so sorry but I have to inform you that you have developed a very rare and unfortunately deadly disease.” Mr. W. goes numb. He felt healthy. He had only gone to the doctor for his annual check-up; not because he was sick.
“What do you mean ‘deadly’?” Mr. W. is in shock and struggling in disbelief. “How long do I have?”
The doctor clears his throat and starts, “That is a good question. This disease is beyond my ability to treat. The good news is there is a treatment for it. The bad news is you have to choose between one of two doctors who treat this disease.”
“Tell me about the doctors.”
“The two doctors have two totally different personalities. Dr. A. is very opinionated and thinks he is the only doctor that knows how to treat this disease. He demands that those who come to him for treatment follow his treatment protocol exactly. Most people say he is very intolerant of the opinions of others. On the other hand, Dr. B. is well loved by most people. He is very personable and willing to work with the patient’s decisions on treatment. He tends to get along well with everybody.”
“I think I would prefer to go see Dr. B. I like a doctor with good bedside manners and that is willing to listen to me.”
Because this disease is so rare and deadly, the PCP is able to set Mr. W. up an appointment with Dr. B. later that week.
The day arrives and Mr. W. meets Dr. B. He is truly very likable. He is easy to get along with. He listens to Mr. W. and then says, “Well, the treatment can be just about anything you want it to be.”
“What do you mean? Do you not have a specific medication for this disease?”
“No, I do not. I do not believe in being narrow-minded and dogmatic. You see, I think almost any treatment will work if you just believe enough in it. I don’t think we doctors have the right to tell patients what they have to do. That is old-fashioned and hurts people’s feelings. So in my opinion, you can choose which treatment course you want to follow and I will support you so you can believe in it. That way, you will be OK.”
Mr. W. is astonished at the lack of a strict regimen. He is intrigued but skeptical at the same time. He asks, “So if I choose to just increase my vitamins that will work?”
Dr. B. answers, “If you really believe that is what will work for you, then I will support your decision.”
“What is I want to use avocado pits?”
“If you believe that is the answer, I will support you.”
“What is I say I think all I need to do is drink more water?”
“I will support you in whatever decision you make. You see, I don’t believe I have the right to judge you or your choice of treatment.”
Mr. W. thanks the doctor and leaves wondering where the doctor received his training. He calls his PCP and asks if he could get an appointment to see Dr. A. The PCP asks, “Did you not like Dr. B?”
“Yes, he was very likable. He was very agreeable too. However, he did not give any real direction.”
The PCP gets Mr. W. an appointment with Dr. A. that same day. Mr. W. asks how he could get an appointment so quickly and his PCP explains that very few want to see Dr. A. because of his narrow-mindedness.
Again, Mr. W. is quickly ushered in to see the doctor. Dr. A. enters and greets Mr. W. then quickly starts explaining his method. “Mr. W., many people do not like me or my methods because I am narrow-minded. I do not mess around with a myriad of theories. Only one medication works on this disease and I will prescribe that for you. You must follow the directions exactly. Are you willing to forsake all other methods and take this one pill?”
Mr. W. responds, “That is kind of harsh don’t you think? The other doctor was very laid back and gave me many options. Why should I follow your instructions?”
“Mr. W. I can understand you think my method is harsh. However, let me give you the statistics. This pill I use is 100% effective. Every patient I have had survives when they follow my instructions. On the other hand, the other options that Dr. B. gave you have a 100% fail rate. You can either chose to follow him and his methods believing that all treatments lead to a cure or you can follow my instructions and forsake all other methods. It is true, my method is harsh. It is true, my method is exclusive. It is true, my method says all other methods will fail. However, it is also true that my method is the only one that will save you from this horrible disease.”
Which doctor would you choose?