THe Doctor’s Dilemma

Some people, and I have the impression that it is mostly men, are terrified to go to the doctor. Maybe it is the doctor’s hurried and supremely self-confident and superior way of tossing off diagnoses and prescriptions that make people dislike seeing them. It explains the gender difference, too. Most women are used to being condescended to, at least a little.

Of course, things have changed so much. The last hundred years or so have taken medicine so far.

But so much has changed so little.

“The Doctor’s Dillemma” by Bernard Shaw satirizes the medical profession brilliantly. Shaw groups the brilliant doctors of his late victorian era and has them talk about their methods and their practices in such a way as to make any sick person set off in search of a witch doctor.

That’s not the only point to the story, though. There is a dilemma for the doctor, after all. A lovely young woman comes to him for help; she wants him to cure her husband of tuberculosis. He is quite dismissive at first, but is charmed by her and agrees to see the man.

With time, he becomes more and more impressed with the young woman–at the same time he discovers her artist husband is a liar and a cheat.

Is he worth saving? For his wife’s sake? For his art’s sake?

The play is very interesting, dealing with serious subjects, but with a lot of humor.