Monday, August 14, 2006

I dunno about these doctors who think they can write

Maybe some day I’ll find out, but so far I can’t tell.

Don’t get me wrong. There are doctors who write beautifully. What has me puzzled at the moment are the last two doctors who contacted me about editing their novels.

The first of them, a podiatrist, sent me a few pages to look at. When I asked to see the rest of the manuscript so that I could provide a price quote for editing it, he expressed concern that I might steal it from him. I explained about copyright and then I offered to sign a nondisclosure agreement. He was going to email one to me and I would sign it and fax it back. A few days went by and I asked what was up. He said he’d selected another editor—based on price. This was a bit of a surprise as I had not quoted a price yet; he’d never sent me the manuscript.

The second doctor, a vascular surgeon, sent me a one-line email last night saying that his publicist (a woman I’ve never heard of), recommended me to edit his book and could I please call him? As it was dinnertime on Sunday in his area code, I wrote back asking when would be a good time to call. I had gotten no response by this morning, so I phoned. Oh, never mind, he found an editor already. Huh?

Now as it turns out, my plate is fairly full at the moment. While it might have been fun to edit a medical thriller, I don’t exactly need the work right now. But if you’ll pardon my ranting a bit, what kind of decision-making process do these doctors go through in their professional lives? The first guy wanted a price from me without showing me the manuscript. I wonder if he diagnoses his patients without examining them. The second guy sent out some unknown number of emails to a list of editors and picked the first one who was rude enough to call him Sunday night, without considering any alternatives. Is that how he evaluates treatment options for his surgery patients—first salesman in the operating room wins?

Weird. Gives me a whole new perspective on guys in white coats.


Nick Belardes said...

Of course some doctors reach conclusions while not properly evaluating their patients. It's what gods do.

Just for being jerks I would call up their offices and set up appointments and not show up...

Then when the receptionist called I would say, "Will you please tell the doctor that I was just sure he was going to misdiagnose me..."


Dick Margulis said...

I like that. If they weren't a continent away, I'd be tempted. "Oh, I found someone cheaper." Or "I liked the diagnosis I saw on TV better."

Nick Belardes said...

Yeah... "I like the snake oil they're offering on CVC. Seems like a better choice for ailing kidneys... and it's supposed to be cherry flavored."

It's fun to at least fantasize... but then we'd be stooping to their level of poor-choice behavior.