There are hundreds of thousands of ethical, highly skilled physicians and surgeons that perform professionally every day to save or heal lives. They have a deep understanding of the body and mind and use their expertise to help patients because they genuinely care about the human race. But then there are the narcissistic physicians.
I am talking about the narcissists who became doctors because they learned, early in their lives, that was where money, power, control over others, and admiration could be found. Did these narcissists want to become primary care doctors or pediatricians? Absolutely not. They knew exactly where to go to reap the benefits they sought–to the “specialties” such as radiology, orthopedics, oncology, plastic surgery, and anesthesiology and so on. Please don’t misunderstand–there are many gifted and dedicated specialists who are not narcissists and care deeply about their patients. We need them and they perform a great service. However, it is safe to predict that narcissists would be over-represented in these fields.
Unfortunately, narcissists are naturally inclined to gravitate toward the professions which guarantee plentiful and continuous provisions of “narcissistic supply”. They seek to interact with people only from their position of authority, advantage, and perceived superiority. In this power position, they are able to elicit automatic admiration, adulation, and affirmation from patients– or failing that, their fear and obedience.
As compared to their non-narcissistic colleagues, narcissists in authority lack empathy and ethical standards. Thus, they are more prone to immorally, callously and consistently abuse their position and patients’ rights. Have you ever tried questioning a narcissistic doctor? They display tremendous confidence and presence, and with their walls covered with diplomas from the best medical institutions, they will let you know in no uncertain terms that they are the experts and that they know what is best. With their perfect backgrounds and expert personalities, most people would never suspect that the physician standing before them is so narcissistic that he or she believes that they can never be wrong–not in the consultation room, examining room, reading medical reports, in the emergency room, or in the surgical suite.
This is a very worrisome trait. Narcissists are liars and exaggerators. They misrepresent their credentials, knowledge, talents, skills, and achievements. A narcissist doctor would rather let patients die than expose his ignorance. So many people are in such admiration of doctors that they can’t imagine that their physician could be wrong—sometimes gravely wrong.
There have been too many misdiagnoses and mistakes made by narcissistic physicians due to their intense need to be right. Obviously, there are incorrect diagnoses and mistakes made by non-narcissistic doctors as well. But in the case of the narcissistic physician, they will find a way not to be wrong at all costs. You misheard or misunderstood, it was the nurse’s fault, or you must not remember him telling you it might be something else. A narcissist cannot, and will not, apologize or take responsibility.
If you or a family member asks them a question that in any way can be perceived as questioning their authority or their expertise, be ready to receive a snide, disparaging remark bordering on insult. Asking for a second opinion is tantamount to outright betrayal. Narcissists know how to instinctually find your weak area and expose it. You have to remember that you have the right to seek and know the truth about your medical condition, in clear terms, or as an advocate for someone else.
Furthermore, narcissistic doctors don’t listen to their patients. They may go for a “quick fix” and not even try to find the cause. Every day problems bore them. They want to get on to the next patient, the next potential intricate procedure or surgery that will garner their much needed attention and admiration as well as confirm their superiority to themselves.
Perhaps the most frightening trait is that the narcissist physician is not deterred by potential punishment. He does not believe that the laws and policies apply to him. His sense of entitlement, along with the conviction of his own superiority, leads him to believe that he is invincible. He truly believes that he is immune and not vulnerable. The narcissist holds rules and regulations in disdain and human penalties equally in disdain. He regards other peoples’ needs and emotions as weaknesses that can be exploited if it will benefit him.
Trust your own judgment and your intuition. Don’t let a narcissistic doctor manipulate or intimidate you. If you are the patient, remember it is your life and wellbeing at stake, not the doctor’s. Be an advocate for yourself or for the patient in your care, stand strong and be unwavering about your right to ask questions and receive detailed answers or explanations.