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PC, M.D.

How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine


Sally L. Satel, M.D. (View Bio)
Hardcover: Basic Books, 2000; Paperback: Basic Books, 2002.

PC, M.D.

This explosive book shows how deeply the practice of medicine and the field of public health has been infected by arrant politicized nonsense. What professor and physician Sally Satel terms "postmodern medicine" has grown up in recent years around the misguided sponsorship by government and nonprofit institutions of trendy academic fads which claim that objective science is a mere social construct or consequence of power plays by an evil patriarchy. The result of implementing these silly concepts into medicine is to put patients at risk by blaming illness on social injustice and even in some cases by discouraging necessary medical treatment. Now it's literal: victim politics really can make you sick.

"Yale psychiatrist Satel takes a hard, clinical look at how political correctness has infiltrated the world of medicine.... Writing confidently, incisively and evenhandedly, Satel aims to debunk many prominent medical studies that have been used to demonstrate that people who suffer from psychoses have been abused by the psychiatric establishment, that American women's health has long been ignored and that promoting the idea of individual responsibility among the disadvantaged is prejudicial. General readers will be surprised to find many of their long-held beliefs about American health care turned inside out, but Satel provides cogent arguments that deserve careful consideration of anyone who believes that better, more affordable health care is obtainable and that politically correct reform is not the way to achieve it." — Publishers Weekly

"A book that demonstrates that PC kills, maims, and deranges.... An extraordinarily courageous, punctiliously researched, powerful new book.... Dr. Satel is thoughtful, indisputably humane — a seriously committed physician.... She makes a compelling case that the time has come for mainstream medicine to fight back." — Baltimore Sun

"[An] excellent study of medicine and society.... Dr. Satel, a practicing psychiatrist, draws on her own clinical experience and public controversies to describe how activists are pursuing (supposedly) better health through social justice. And she shows how this dubious practice — defended in the academy by the social production theory of disease — is muddling doctors' ability to to deliver good medical care.... Thank goodness that Dr. Satel brings more scientific precision and moral rigor to the treatment of her subject than some doctors and public-health officials bring to the treatment of their patients." — The Wall Street Journal

"[A] provocative and fascinating survey of the infiltration of the American health-care system by political correctness.... Satel hammers her point home again and again: Political correctness in health care is not just a harmless phase that naive undergraduates can go through before they grow up and have to face medical realities. It is, rather, a serious public-health threat in itself, because it is costing lives.... Public awareness of the extent to which political correctness has infected the health professions is the first step toward cleaning up this dangerous mess. PC, M.D. provides a much-needed disinfectant — and everyone in medicine knows how difficult that simple act can be." — National Review

"It is Satel's important thesis that such 'politically correct' or 'PC' medicine ignores or is ignorant of the real causes and the real cures of sickness, and that the proposed remedies of the activists (whom she calls 'indoctrinologists' for their proselytizing) not infrequently contribute to the very problems they are meant to solve. As she observes in her introduction, 'PC medicine puts ideology before patients'; and her book is an attempt to point out how this occurs, who is perpetrating it, and what the dangers are — to patients, and to the future of medical progress — if it is not exposed.... Hers is a clarion call to be aware of the indoctrinologists' thus-far unimpeded growth in power, to the extent that they can influence standards for admission to medical and nursing schools, the contents of professional journals, and even the direction of medical research and its methods of combatting disease.... The refrain of personal responsibility for one's health runs through Satel's impassioned and intelligent book.... Basing this argument on her own clinical experience and an imposing knowledge of the pertinent literature, Satel throws herself fearlessly into one after another of the major battles that are being waged by the advocates of PC medicine.... One after another, Satel takes on the central planks in the platform of PC medicine and replies to them with a devastating barrage of documentation, leavened by her own clinical and personal observations." — Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland, The New Republic

"[Satel] has gathered together a number of examples of the corrupting or corrosive influence of political correctness on the practice of medicine.... But she does believe that, on the whole, the medical tradition has served humanity well and that if the epigones of political correctness have their way unchallenged or unopposed, the tradition will be damaged to the lasting detriment of many patients.... Dr. Satel has performed a valuable service in demonstrating how political correctness can and does distort the practice of medicine. Her prose is simple and direct, her meaning always clear. Some of her quotations beggar belief, but she is not the kind of author to tear words out of context merely to make a point. The self-righteousness, grandiosity, and lack of historical perspective of her epidemiological, feminist and new-age interlocutors are startling. They seem to believe that, until their most fortunate advent, all was wrong with the world, and that nothing existed before them but ignorance, oppression, and blind prejudice: hence the view that in the words of Bakunin, the urge to destruction is also a creative urge. Indeed, for them it is the only creative urge. The medical tradition can withstand the onslaught, but only if someone defends it, as Dr. Satel does with considerable bravery and style. All that is necessary for political correctness to triumph is for the intelligent to remain silent." — The New Criterion

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