Medical Errors and the Cult of Expertise in the Age of Covid, by Ryan McMaken

Most people defer to the experts, but there’s no reason why people can’t ask experts questions, and no reason why they shouldn’t answer them, especially when the subject is their own health. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Ever since the covid panic began in February of this year, medical personnel such as doctors and nurses have been treated to a level of hero worship generally reserved for the government’s soldiers and cops. We were told they were heroically slaving away to treat covid victims. And although many of these nurses were apparently spending their time choreographing TikTok videos and dancing in hospital hallways, we were assured by government officials and their obedient allies in the media that medical staffers are the new model for self-sacrifice and civic virtue.

Yet in the two decades leading up to 2020, researchers were repeatedly alarmed by the extent to which medical errors were a persistent problem in American clinics and hospitals. Beginning at least as early as 1999, an increasing number of studies suggested that perhaps nearly a hundred thousand patients per year were dying due to medical errors.

Numerous articles appeared in mass media outlets suggesting that medical training was insufficient, that systems devised by hospitals were error prone, and that malpractice was not as rare as doctors would have us believe.

Not surprisingly, politics also intervened. Many outlets took the apparent prevalence of medical errors to prove that more government regulation and government funding were necessary. Others noted problems in how government agencies count deaths.

But then the covid panic happened. Not surprisingly, concerns over medical competence have receded into the background, and medical personnel have instead been treated to a status of near apotheosis, with the opinion of every run-of-the-mill nurse or physician on everything from racism to “essential businesses” being of the utmost gravity.

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