Originally posted December 18 2020 (https://compasshealthperfo.wixsite.com/mysite/post/my-response-to-wall-street-journal-article-dr-biden-you-are-a-doctor)
The world has turned into a place where every single topic has become heavily politicized. In the beginning of Covid, I had high hopes that I would see our country come together like other tragic times in our history such as war time, 9/11, and natural disasters. However, this disease has made our world more divided and chaotic than I have ever experienced in my life. I am proud of how so many have come together to support social justice, equality and betterment. However, still so many people take the opposing side, many times not because they view it as right or wrong, but because it aligns with the political agenda of their party.
A week ago, Joseph Epstein of the Wall Street Journal put out an article titled, “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.” which sparked major backlash from many on my timeline, which is full of people in the medical and academic world. When I first saw this I thought, “wow who would waste their time writing such a dumb article”, “This is very poorly written”, and “who would actually take this seriously”. However, in the last week I have seen more support for Epstein than I could’ve imagined. Fox news Tucker Carlson even put out a whole segment about how Dr. Jill Biden shouldn’t consider herself a Dr. Here are my issue with this article and opinion that Dr. Biden isn’t a real “doctor”
Issue #1: Definition of a “Doctor”
A Doctorate stems from the Latin word which means “to teach”. A doctoral degree, which Dr. Jill Biden has EARNED, is derived from the ancient formalism licentia docendi (“licence to teach”). Being a Doctor is not a occupation, but instead a degree that you have earned.
Issue #2: More important things to be talking about
A big topic that many of the people who have taken the position that Dr Biden shouldn’t consider herself a doctor, have also taken the position that we should only talk about things that are “important” to the country. I could be wrong but in my opinion, I could care less what Dr Biden wants to call herself. Especially if she’s calling herself something that she has earned.
Issue #3: The people who developed the Covid Vaccine were not MD’s
As the news that the first Covid Vaccines are being administered, the quick question I have for Mr. Epstein, is are the scientist, most of which “only” had Ph.D’s, allowed to call themselves Doctors?. This is the vaccine that was created in record time, will save hundreds of thousand of lives and will hopefully return us back to normalcy. However, most of the key players in the development wouldn’t be allowed to call themselves Doctors in Mr Epstein’s eyes.
Issue #4: The Title of the Article
I have an issue with the title, “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D”. The good news for Mr Epstein is I’m sure the white house will have an MD or a DO on call if any medical emergencies do occur.
NOW LETS GET TO THE ACTUAL ARTICLE!
ISSUE #5: Epstein’s statement: Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name? “Dr. Jill Biden ” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic
My issue with this statement is, Dr Biden is a full grown women who is a very respected and well know public figure. She is not a “kiddo”. If you called me kiddo, I would take a major issue with it. This is a clear lack of respect. I can’t imagine Mr Epstein has gone around and called many prominent male figures “kiddo”. For an argument to be made and respected, the author must first demonstrate respect.
Issue #6: Epstein’s Statement, “Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.””
My issue with this statement, is his attempt to delegitimize her degree. When he says “Your degree is, I believe, Ed.D…”, it leaves me thinking, “you are a lazy journalist because knowing what her degree is, takes a 15 second google search to confirm”. Also to try to demean a thesis on education, in a country that needs to improve their education system, seems foolish to me.
Issue #7: Epstein’s Statement: “A wise man once said that no one should call himself “Dr.” unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”
My question for Epstein on this one is, “Are only OBGYN allowed to call themselves Doctors?”.If so every White House Physician in the United States History should’ve avoided calling themselves Doctors. Also your title of the article implies the current White House Physician Dr. Sean Conley shouldn’t be a Doctor, because he is a DO and not an MD. *DO and MD go through the same amount of schooling and are both able to be practicing Physicians.
My final thoughts…
I could have gone much deeper into this topic. However, I feel the deeper meaning of this article, wasn’t necessarily to attack other doctors, but instead to attack Dr. Jill Biden personally. I have great issue with this article as it is incredibly sexist and misogynistic. However, Dr. Jill Biden was not the only person that was hit in this attack, every single Doctor who isn’t an MD was also attacked. The larger issue with this is a portion of the population will now forever believe that a Ph.D, DPT, D.C, Ed.D,etc are not real Doctors. As I think about this personally, as I am now over half way through my doctorate degree in Physical Therapy; my opinion on the importance of being viewed as a Doctor has changed greatly. I will probably never have a patient call me “Doc” because it is not the relationship I hope to have with my patient. However, I now view the importance of sharing the power Doctor of Physical Therapy and their ability to transform individuals lives. So my response to Mr Epstein, is if someone has gone through that much schooling and has become an expert in their field, then they can be called whatever they want. No matter if they are a MD, DPT , D.C, Ph.D or an Ed.D; they are a Doctor in my book and should be a Doctor in everyones book.