A Critical Analysis of “The Doctor Won’t See You Now”Kevin Asp
Essay # 1
Initially, James Gorman appears to be stating that physicians should not be
ethically obligated to treat each and every “slob” that seeks treatment. The
title of the essay, and the sarcastic tone, give evidence that the thesis is
quite the contrary. Gorman does identify an alarming trend of physicians looking
through a cynical eye with an example of a survey by the American Medical
Association, published November, 1991. ” Thirty percent of doctors surveyed
said they felt no ethical responsibilities to treat AIDS patients” (page 62).
This seems to set the tone of disgust for such physicians. Gorman further
condemns such physicians by reminding the reader “doctoring is a profession, a
calling requiring commitment and integrity” (page 63).
Gorman confirms his argument with the first of many disenchanted views.
Making a comparison that ” old people who are on their way out anyway” (page
62) are responsible for rising health care costs.
Gorman then becomes almost offensive when he suggests some AIDS patients
deserve their predicament and others don’t. At this point, the reader sees that
Gorman is being very sarcastic and bitter towards physicians who mare share
In paragraph three, Gorman attempts to make an analogy between other
professions and related obligations. In essence, the analogy equates the amount
of money and personal taste one may have, with the level of care and/or
attention one deserves. The analogy appears to be very inappropriate at first,
however, this may be exactly what Gorman is trying to point out, making the
reader more sympathetic to the thesis.
Gorman begins to touch on a sound idea of preventative medicine in paragraph
four, page 62, where he writes “… the medical profession is finally beginning
to see that patients have a responsibility for their own health”. The
credibility of the previous statement is destroyed when Gorman goes on to make a
false analogy, comparing doctors with small business, and suggests that their
is no difference between the two fields. Gorman suggest that, like in small
business, doctors should eliminate the “riffraff” in their establishments.
Unfortunately, the definition of riffraff is never revealed.
Gorman goes on further to suggest which diseases or ailments should not be
treated without any reason except personal bias. The sarcastic tone is turned
up a notch on the proverbial dial from ten to eleven. Making a hasty
generalization would usually destroy credibility on an issue, but used with the
tone and thesis of this essay, it actually supports Gorman’s point.
Gorman specifies carpal tunnel syndrome as a deserved ailment. In the last
sentence of paragraph five, page 63, Gorman writes ” carpal tunnel syndrome in
people who write a lot of trash about ethics and responsibility”. With this
Post Hoc, Gorman is successful in revealing a hidden truth. Gorman is
suggesting that some physicians feel they need not acknowledge ethics and
responsibilities associated with their position. Willfully presenting it with
such a tone the reader will not and cannot sympathize with the writer. Again,
further supporting the thesis.
Towards the end of the essay, Gorman has ruled out so many possible
candidates for treatment, the physicians themselves will be left with little
clientele. The argument is so ridiculous, it turns full circle and defeats
In Gorman’s conclusion it is self evident what’s being said is that medicine
is not just a business and cannot be treated as if it were. It is much more
than nine to five and making a buck. Unfortunately some physicians may have
forgotten this for the moment. Stockbrokers are not required to take a
Hippocratic Oath, and are therefore not bound to the same ethical
responsibilities as physicians.
The essay did not follow a classical structure, but was none the less
effective. Rhetorical comments and questions were abundant, and the conclusion
was cleverly used as a concession. Who needs structure in an essay. Really. How
dumb can you get?