Doctors have power, no matter if you admit it or not

I spend most of my time trying to understand power and I have been doing that since I was a teenager. All of my university studies were about power, all of my time in different NGOs and networks has been about discerning and changing power dynamics. Trying to understand power dynamics has been a big part of trying to understand an extremely confusing world.

I understand perfectly well that everybody else isn’t this interested in trying to understand power dynamics. That’s fine, people have different interests. However, I have a hard time dealing with situations were people are in positions with a great deal of power without paying attention to it. I know that it’s very common not to see the power we have, but I can’t shake it off when people like doctors are blatantly careless and uninterested in the power dynamics that goes on in a patient-doctor relationship. When it’s being treated as something unimportant.

Doctors have formal power to make decisions about treatments and that seems to be hard enough to talk about. Trying to talk about all other kinds of power dimensions, like being considered experts, having the right to define the truth, having control over what should be labelled ill and even controlling what information that is considered relevant and worth discussing – that seems to be simply impossible in many cases.

How is it possible that people who posses positions like doctors can get away with refusing to put their own part of the power dynamics under scrutiny?

Refusing to talk about power dynamics can be an efficient strategy for keeping your own position unquestioned, consciously or not. I know that. A part of me just can’t grasp that so many doctors can get away with doing it.


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