I remember as a college student I had access to only a few newspapers. There was a Boston Children’s Hospital pediatrician named Perri Klass whose essays I used to read in the New York Times. She had an amazing voice. My inspiration to be a pediatrician was drawn from her. I wanted to have her experiences and I wanted to react and think like her. I wanted to handle vulnerable parents with the poise and fluency that she seemed to convey. Because she was effectively all I could see, I thought all pediatricians were like Perri Klass.
Since that time I became a pediatrician and the internet appeared.
And with respect to physician voices, things have changed. There are now countless physicians being heard. There’s no longer one fortified newspaper with one doctor’s isolated perspective. And any medical student or doctor with a keyboard, an internet connection and a good idea has a shot at developing a global platform. We’re seeing wild opinions, crazy ideas, and brilliance that reflect all the things about doctors once hidden by editors. Sure, there’s rubbish. But the good stuff survives and flourishes in a system of sharing and social reinforcement. As it has been said, editorial selection happens after publication.
Now without anyone’s editorial consent I maintain a regular voice online and people can hear what I have to say. Some of it’s rubbish but the good stuff survives. One story that stuck found its way into the The Real Life of a Pediatrician. Check it out. It’s a great collection with a great editor.
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