Imagine that you’re on a hospital gurney, having just been wheeled into an operating room to undergo surgery to remove a brain tumor. You’re understandably anxious. Your surgeon appears and greets you. Everything about him inspires confidence, from his impeccable credentials to his confident demeanor, right down to his square jaw. He’s your man. Your surgeon seems to have come straight from central casting, and you experience a wave of comfort.
Just as the anesthesiologist adds a sedative to your IV, you notice something strange. Your surgeon’s scrubs are covered with patches of major company names—patches just like those that NASCAR drivers wear to promote their sponsor companies. Instead of the logos for Pennzoil or Walmart, though, your surgeon’s patches bear the logos of corporations in the medical field—device makers, pharmaceutical companies, even insurance companies.
Matt Corrado © 2013
The anesthesiologist just asked you to start counting backward from 10, but your mind is racing with unsettling questions: Is this surgeon focused on his sponsors or me? Will every choice that he makes during the next several hours be based purely on improving my odds of survival? Or is there a chance that he will choose one drug or device over another just because a certain pharmaceutical ...