All of us have had or know of someone who has had some wonderful experiences with physicians, and all of us have had, or know of someone who has had some terrible experiences with physicians. It is a fact of life that the professional skills of our physicians are to us simultaneously both a source of wonder and of suspicion. For reasons that are entirely personal to us, we love them and distrust them at the same time.
François-Marie Arouet, (1694-1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, freedom of expression, free trade and separation of church and state.
He is famously quoted as reflecting the oscillation we all feel on this subject when he opined that: “Men who are occupied in the restoration of health to other men, by the joint exertion of skill and humanity, are above all the great of the earth. They even partake of divinity, since to preserve and renew is almost as noble as to create.” And then he opined the opposite sentiment about the same group: “Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.”
To quote another Frenchman in this respect: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (The more things change, the more things stay the same). Alphonse Karr, (1808-1890)