My wife Ginny is a veterinarian. Being a vet like her is different from being a human doctor in several ways:
- Vets emphasize prevention, to avoid avoidable disease
- For years many have offered “pet portal” software to view your records from home (let me Google that for you)
- Treatment decisions are entirely up to the client (though there are certainly haughty vets who don’t like to be questioned)
- Cost is always a consideration
- To her the “patient” is not the same as the client
- and many more.
But probably the biggest difference is embodied in the excellent talk below, from TEDMED 2014 in Vancouver, in which a “people doctor” gets called to consult … at a zoo … and discovers a world of new insights that have changed how she practices.
The amusing thing is that Ginny has always joked about how “people doctors” only have to know one species – and often only one system in that specialty – while veterinarians have to know all the systems in all the species they treat. (Eyes, heart, teeth, kidneys, you name it… not to mention variations like a dog or cat uterus having two “horns” (forks).) That difference turns out to be a joke at the end of this.
It’s a thought provoking 18 minutes. Enjoy. (Email subscribers, if you can’t see it, click here to come online.)
Here’s a link to the Zoobiquity conference she mentions, where vets and people docs share thoughts. That would be fun to attend. Check out the site – its banner asks, in sequence:
- Do beluga whales get breast cancer?
- Do dragonflies get obese?
- Do pandas get eating disorders?
- Do flamingos get heart attacks?
- Do koalas get STDs?
Then, this … check out the intersection:
p.s. This talk is part of a new list created on LinkedIn by Dutch colleague Lucien Engelen, 10 TED Talks that change(d) healthcare. You can read it there, or you can watch it as a YouTube list. But this one isn’t on that list.)