How often have you gone to a doctor and a doctor says to you, "you have to lose weight", and the doctor himself is quite obese? Doctors expect patients to bow down to their wishes, even though their orders aren't good enough for themselves. I personally can not take a doctor seriously, when they don't take themselves seriously.
Those who believe that physicians are now less than benevolent professionals are perhaps pointing to the fact that many people now go into the field for financial reasons. But it takes a lot of skill, and a lot of compassion, to go through the pain and suffering needed to become an MD, along with a lot of education and commitment too. The process weeds out a lot of people who might be motivated by pure profit motives. Those who are merchants are not as educated, nor are they as motivated by the desire to serve. They do not have the commitment to their communities to provide care in need, and are more self-centered in their orientation. Those who are medical professionals swear to and must adhere to a higher standard than mere merchants do.
The field of medicine has gone from a benevolent calling to a business for profit. When profits are held in a highter position than patient care, the quality of our health care deteriorates. There are not just honest medical errors anymore. Nowadays, doctors will actually harm the patient for profits. Doctors will tell patients to abuse Medicare just so they can get their cut. It's horrendous. It's immoral. It needs to stop!
Ten years of schooling doesn't get paid back on a minimal income. A high level income will pay back ten years and a quarter million dollars of student loan debt. When this is done, many doctors donate their time and their money to help those who cannot pay for medical care. Altruism is a common thread in the medical profession. From Operation Smile to Doctors without Borders, medical altruism is evident in our society. Some doctors enter the profession for the pay or respect, but at least as many do so for the ability to save the lives of others.
Doctors today are primarily interested in two things: 1) making as much money as they can in as few hours as possible and 2) covering their liabilities at the expense of additional testing and treatment. Not only this, but they expect to be treated like they are more special than most anyone else. They are easily insulted and do not expect to have to do more than is absolutely necessary. Doctors used to justify their high salaries based on the time they spend away from their families, but nowadays many of them don't even work a forty hour week and still make ten to twenty times the average salary.
A physician's dedication starts even before they are actually practicing medicine, with all the years of schooling and hours they must shadow another doctor on rounds, perfecting their craft. Physicians deserve the utmost respect, in my opinion, simply because they are saving lives that might be otherwise lost in a crisis, or just in day-to-day life.
Every doctor that I have worked with has been a nice person that seemed to genuinely care about my health. They have worked very hard to make sure that my health has been improved, whenever I dealt with them. I have never had a recommendation for an unnecessary surgery, just so they can make money on my insurance company.
Although there are some physicians who are simply in it for the money, as is the same for many other professions, on the whole, I believe that they also want to help people by keeping them and helping them become healthy. Most physicians carefully examine people, and run only relevant tests. Better controls would help to eliminate those just in it for the money.
Physicians are more than glorified merchants. They go through many years of school, in order to learn the skills necessary to treat and diagnose illnesses. There are, however, medical professionals that expect respect that has not been earned, particularly in the OB/GYN field, where the wishes of the mother are often ignored. The few bad apples in this field, however, do not qualify as "most physicians", but merely, "some physicians".
Physicians go through several years of medical school to earn the title of doctor, receiving hands-on training along the way. They learn how to diagnose, treat, and communicate effectively with a variety of people about a variety of diseases, health concerns, and general well-being. Sure, some of them are better at their work than others, because they are human. However, I think to assume most of them are hypocrites and glorified merchants is inaccurate.
I believe that most physicians want to help people and make them more healthy. I guess it is the approach that comes across that is more important. Do we get the attention we deserve, or is the physician just wanting to get to the next patient, so he can make more money?
In the few years that I have had experience with physicians I have seen all sorts, and of them very few acted like they were drug company representatives. Most take a great deal of time to listen to their patients and prescribe excessive and better health approaches long before anything else.
While it may be true that there are some or even many professionals who are this type of hypocrite, it's not feasible to think that the majority are this one way. Beyond this, the statement is not clear to what we are talking about with physicians; worldwide, in America, in New York? It's a faulty assumption.
People who become doctors have a desire to help people in some form or other, whether it's through working with patients or through researching diseases. It takes a certain kind of person to stick it out in school for all the years required to become a doctor. A selfish individual could find many easier ways to lead a hypocritical lifestyle under the guise of being in a helping position, he/she could become a politician for example.
It's extremely unfair to generalize a profession such as this question generalizes physicians. There are far more professions available that would take less education and less hard work and still make the same amount of money, or more, than physicians do. To state they are glorified merchants is inappropriate considering the job they do.