I am a regular reader of the Wall Street Journal, as it remains one of the few media publications that just tells the news. So I was appalled when I read last week this headline in their paper: “Medical Schools Are Pushed to Train Doctors for Climate Change.” The article, by Brianna Abbott, then described how many prominent medical schools are now incorporating climate change and its effects on health into their med school curricula.
Listen, I have enough problems with my doctors diagnosing me now without them tuning in to the Weather Channel. I go to the doctor about my knee aching and get something like this: Me: “Doctor my left knee has been aching and swells a little whenever I run or squat too much.” Doctor: “Well, you could have arthritis in that knee, in which case I could give you some pain reliever like Aleve but if you take it too often you will destroy your kidneys. Of course, it could be a bacterial infection has set in, and I would give you antibiotics, but then again it could be viral in nature and if so the antibiotics would have no effect and we would be contributing to drug-resistant super bugs. You may have cartilage damage and need a knee replacement, that will hurt worse than child birth and probably only be good for about 5-7 years. It also could be a rare type of cancer, which if you are already feeling the pain, it has progressed too far and it is probably all over your body so I would call the family in and make plans as soon as possible.
“But given what I know today, and unless you want to go through 22 different scans, MRIs and prods, and for which I will need to see that you have really good insurance, I’d say just quit running and squatting and you should be fine. That will be $275. Thank you.”
But now, they are going to turn doctors into weathermen as well. Oh my God! Weathermen have the best job in the world. They say a 70% chance of rain and then it does not rain and they say well there was a 30% chance it would not rain, so you hit that 3 out of 10 chance. It rains and they say, “See I told you so.” They predict a hurricane will hit Panama City, and instead it hits Galveston, Texas. So what, 500 or 600 miles ain’t that far.
I can just see it now. Doctor: “Mr. Gamble, there is a 60% chance you have cancer but also a 50% chance of surviving for five years if the high pressure system that is currently in the Gulf of Mexico does not turn east. If that happens, I am afraid your cancer will be Stage 5 and terminal. But it could swing west, in which case you probably will not have cancer at all.” Me: “So, I need to watch the Weather Channel for the next few days to see if I will live or die?” Doctor: “Yes, and if we see a 3-degree increase in the mean average temperature in June for Barcelona, Spain, I am afraid you will probably contract sepsis and be dead anyway.”
Before you know it, my doctor will be out in the pouring, driving rain, reporting on T.V.
“This torrential downpour should increase the chances of a flu epidemic by 30%, and I’m seeing gales as strong as 25 miles an hour right now which can mean only one thing: I don’t have enough sense to get in out of the rain, but I am your doctor, and I tell you what to do with your body.”
I can only hope that my current doctor outlasts me so I don’t have to go to the newly climate-trained doctors.