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Doctor Apologizes to Librarians

In case you ever wondered what happened to my post quoting the doctor who said, "When you are a doctor you cannot be a librarian," the doctor concerned left a comment on my post that you may want to read.

I truly apologize for the error in the statement attributed to me in a recent article written by Ceres Doyo after interviewing me in the hospital – "When you are a doctor you cannot be a librarian." That was my unfortunate choice of words, not hers.

The sentence should have been phrased: "When you are a doctor, you should not be solely 'book-oriented' by trying to make the patient fit patterns and standard guidelines in medical textbooks and manuals – instead, you should be learning from each individual patient."
Unfortunately, I have observed that many medical students and doctors, including some of my own students, memorize diagnostic groups and treatment algorithms, and often miss the unique characteristics of each patient. This is aggravated by the structure of many medical tests and board exams. In some instances, the lack of recognition of each patient’s uniqueness leads to serious, sometimes fatal, consequences. That was the issue in the lawsuit I filed as a lawyer described in the article by Ceres.

The comment was certainly not meant as an insult to any librarian or to the profession of library science in any way.

Again, my apologies. A copy of this letter was also forwarded to the author of that article.

Dr. Samuel Bernal
I appreciate the time Dr. Bernal took to leave the comment on my post, but I think we also need to address an issue raised by one of those who left an earlier comment on that post: "'what have we done as an individual/profession' to educate the outside world about the wonders of being in this profession?" As I keep saying over and over again, "No one is obliged to recognize the importance of librarians—we must be the ones to convince others of the importance of the work we do. We need to be more proactive about communicating and interacting with our own communities, and networking—and working—with other literacy and library advocates."

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