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"When you are a doctor
you cannot be a librarian"

When you are a doctor you cannot be a librarian. You must use your ability to evaluate a patient and look at what is unique about that patient. Now these doctors have to realize that when they just follow standard-of-care and evidence-based medicine they are going to be sued and they are going to lose!

The quote above is what led me to write the following letter to the editor. Let's see if my letter makes it into print.

I applaud the victory obtained by Dr. Samuel D. Bernal, as reported in "Fil-Am doctor-lawyer wins landmark case" by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 26 February 2009). There is, in fact, a need to treat patients as unique human beings, and not just as figures in statistical charts. I would like to express my disappointment, however, regarding what I hope was an unintended insult to the members of an entire profession. Bernal was quoted as saying that, "When you are a doctor you cannot be a librarian," which seems harmless enough. But taken in the context of the succeeding sentences and the entire essay, it is quite clear that Bernal is passing judgment on ALL librarians as mindless beings who just follow rules and do not evaluate what they do. I will not deny that such librarians exist, but perhaps Bernal needs to heed his own advice to other doctors, so he may realize that librarians—like patients—are unique individuals, too.

Vernon R. Totanes
Licensed librarian and
PhD candidate, University of Toronto

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