Revising the doctor-patient relationship is a very important conversation. It is worthwhile and instructive to first look at how the media — broadcast, print, and web sources — participate in and affect this relationship. Stating the obvious, there are good media and bad media. Mostly bad. The power and necessity of the 24-hour news churn forces all broadcast news stations to put out all kinds of junk. The most sensational stories attract the most eyeballs. The news cycle affects newspapers as well.
The media intentionally — or out of ignorance — distorts scientific information. Overall the media has no conception of the process of science. Media needs blacks and whites. Science and medicine are neither of these. So, probably more than 90% of the "news" people receive on medical issues is tainted, distorted, and inaccurate.
People need to participate in medical decision-making. In today’s medical environment, it is shocking and appalling how much responsibility the patient's family needs to take on in making critical decisions. What's called for ongoingly, now, is a doctor-patient partnership. But patients and their families are not well-equipped to be partners with their doctors, owing to the very poor quality of medical and scientific information they receive from their media sources.
The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers graduate online masters in bioethics programs. For more information on the AMBI master of bioethics online program, please visit the AMBI site.