After undergoing years of expensive training at selective medical schools, it is almost expected that a doctor would finish with not only a degree, but a feeling of superiority. Those outside of the medical profession often regard these doctors as highly knowledgeable as well. Our discussion from class about doctors’ God complex made me question the implications of holding physicians on such a high pedestal. In reading Avery’s post, “The ‘God Complex’ and Doctors”, I began to think of the negative effects that occur from regarding doctors as an omniscient being.
Avery’s blog depicted the horrible story of her friend’s aunt passing away from complications that were not dealt with properly after surgery. Her friend’s aunt had vomit stuck in her lungs that was not cleared out post surgery. When the complications were brought to the doctor’s attention, they were basically dismissed. When her friend’s aunt passed away from these complications, the doctor refused to take responsibility (Georgakis, 2017). In reading this story, I was provoked to think about how the God complex surrounding doctors was integrated into the story. Why was the doctor given the power to completely dismiss the patient’s concerns about the complication? Avery’s story is just one example of the dangers of applying the God complex to physicians.
As a physician, Blake seems to have integrated the God complex into his identity. He does not listen to the warnings Eli and his people give about the disease–he wants to escape and seek treatment for the disease, and he remains stubborn in this opinion throughout the book. When talking to Keira, he types on his prescription pad so no one can hear him, and says “You must escape! There’s an epidemic brewing here! We must give warning, get treatment” (Butler, 502). He is steadfast in his idea that medical intervention is the only answer to dealing with their infection. He is unable to realize that the disease might be more powerful than any medical intervention, and that Eli and his people might have a better idea about how to remain in control of the microbe from Clay’s Ark. Since he has this idea that his ideas are superior to others, he in turn makes rash decisions that end up killing both himself and Rane and infecting an individual that goes on to infect the whole world. If Blake had let go of his God complex, he might have considered others’ ideas and not made decisions that ended in such disastrous consequences.
Outside of fiction, the God complex is evident as well. In an interview by Craig Phillips, Renee Tajima-Peña discusses her film No Más Bebés, which investigates a group of Mexican immigrant women who were sterilized while giving birth at LA-USC medical hospital from 1960-1970 (2016). Who gave the doctors the right to decide that this group of people should not be allowed to have anymore children? Although I have not seen the documentary, I am trying to find it online to watch because I am curious to hear the doctor’s side of the story. I struggle to understand how they felt they were qualified enough to make such a huge decision that would affect these women and their families for life. From our discussions on the God complex, it is painful to me to think that these doctors though they were so omniscient that they could make such a decision.
As an aspiring physician whose parents are both doctors, this topic was a little difficult for me. It was hard to imagine that my parents might have a God complex or that I would grow to incorporate one into my own identity. Although I have only observed my parents in the workplace a few times, I cannot remember them acting in this way. However, now that I have thought more critically about physicians developing a God complex, I believe I will be more observant when going to doctors appointments myself and in my own medical training to observe evidence of the God complex