The relationship between doctors and patients have changed constantly.
Up until the French Revolution, patients who pay all the bills have absolute superiority in power in their relationship with doctors. But, since the French revolution, the governments began to pay important parts of the bills. The power relation has shifted. Doctors began to decline to treat the patients if patients do not really obey the instructions, which was unthinkable prior to that time.
This superiority of doctors in the medical relations was strengthened greatly as modern medical discoveries led us to believe that all diseases can be cured eventually with science and investments. The doctors began to represent the science. The superiority in power grew even further.
The pharmaceutical industry with their affinity with the governments strengthened the power of doctors so that they can exclusively monopolize and control the treatment industry permanently.. Only doctors can treat diseases (but, doctors can use pharmaceutical drugs only....By the way, all the problems of life are basically diseases...That is what they positions are)
Such superiority of power was so great that even in the bulleting board of this website some doctors basically took the position of "I am God. You worship me"
But, everything changed recently.
Internet at first released enormous amount of information to patients. They began to expect doctors to give more than what they can get from the internet, which is very hard to comply with. Also, patients began to demand doctors to give opinions on alternative medicines other than from a confrontational stances. In the past, this was unthinkable. In the past, as soon as patients mention any alternative medicines, they were told to leave the clinic right way. Not any more. These days, abou 300 MD's are either using our products or recommeding our products. This was unthinkable 10 years ago. At that time, any MD with very little knowledge and experience in diabetes treatment habituallly hurled insults at me and our company without checking any data. They used to say "I am busy" when asked "have you read the data before you criticize the products?" They did not feel foolish about saying so. They even felt professional when they criticize without checking what they were criticizing.
People also realized that doctors are not as helpful for chronic degenerative diseases as they used to be for infectious diseases. Therefore, the respects for the doctors who treat chronic diseases diminished relatively.
All these led to the power shift.
I frankly believe that doctors are wonderful people who help us tremendously. But, they are not Gods. And the respects and obediences patients gave them have disappeared recently and very quickly. I am not so sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. As I wrote on the occasion of Mr. Jobs death, foolish disrespect for doctors highly likely will lead to disastrous medical blunders.
Many doctors migrated into semi-medical areas to increase their income. In Korea, many doctors run operations which are basically expensive massage parlors. General hospitals run 5 star hotel like so called executive health check up programs. MRI's for common colds...Such trends will further accelerate the diminishing of the resepcts patients give to their doctors.