Dr. Lauren B. Smith DVM
Original Content from Uncharted Veterinary Conference 2018
We’ve all heard about the death of expertise. And if we haven’t heard about it, we’ve witnessed it with our own two eyes. Clients come in with a diagnosis from Dr. Google long before they even step into the hospital. They bring paper work from their breeders telling them under no circumstances to let their vet “sell” them on lepto vaccination because it will kill their pet. They tell us what medications they want before their animal has even been examined.
This isn’t just a veterinary problem, it’s happening everywhere.
Big Pharma is poisoning us to make a buck
Climate scientists are in it for the money
Lawyers are crooks (okay so that one’s not really new)
People today don’t trust “experts.” They don’t trust us. There are a lot of reasons for this, most of which I’ll leave to the sociologists. But there is one reason in particular that I think resonates in veterinary medicine.
We’ve always been relatively powerless to the whims of biology. People and animals get sick. No matter how many advances there have been in modern medicine, we still keep getting sick. But add in all the new ways we feel powerless in our lives—powerless to the politicians who govern our society, powerless to the big corporations that rule our economy, powerless to Mother Nature and the ever-worsening natural disasters that cripple our cities; and people are grasping for any little bit of control they can get.
Sickness is scary. And when the health of you or someone you love is at the whim of someone else, it’s even scarier. I experienced this first hand last fall when I got sick. I had stomach pain and nausea. I could barely eat. I lived off matzo ball soup and sherbet for two months. I had ultrasounds, CTs, MRIs, and endoscopies. I got no answers. And it took an awfully long time to get those non-answers. I had to wait for insurance clearance. The first available endoscopy appointment wasn’t for over a month. Eventually I just got better, but for those two months I was miserable, not just physically but emotionally too.
I thought of all the ways veterinary medicine was superior to the care I’d received. I thought of all the things I did for my patients that were better then what I was getting, but also the things that I didn’t do but wished were done. How could my doctors have helped to empower me and make me feel less out of control.
The Admin Team of NOMV is a group of veterinarians dedicated to improving veterinary mental health.