05/25/2011 12:20 pm ET
  • Norman Horowitz Senior executive with almost 50 years of diverse media experience

I just love it when someone will tell me something like "after all the time we have known one another, would I ever do anything to hurt you? Why don't you just trust me Norman?"

We are called upon every day to do just that even when these words are not spoken. I would always laugh when someone in a deli would ask the waiter "how is the Pastrami?" What answer would you expect?

When it comes to dealing with the well being of my body, and I ask the treating health care professional what to do, I would hope that unlike the waiter, that he or she would not consider the economics of the moment when they reply. If I want a second opinion, it should not be because I question the Doctors motives.

My families Maltese Doggie, Florianna Annabelle, (She was named that by the breeder in London where I purchased her) ventured to California with our family in 1973. She flourished here, along with everyone else, and I am sure that she was very happy not to see snow ever again in her lifetime, and chase gigantic dogs on the beach where we spent weekends. Of course she would love it when we had cocktail receptions at our house in that she got to follow everyone around and eat all of the stuff that they would drop on the floor.

When she was about 15 years old, she became ill, and my wife and I took her to the Vet for an all day exam. When we went to pick her up, both the examining Veterinarian, and his associate, the owner of the Clinic told us the same thing. "We need to do a liver biopsy on Annabelle to determine if she has liver cancer." I asked that if she did indeed have cancer, if anything could be done to treat her. The answer was no, but that was followed by the opinion that they had ruled out all other possibilities, and they needed to know what they were dealing with. I kept asking why they would want to do a biopsy if its outcome did not matter, and they continued to repeat "but Mr. Horowitz, we need to know what we are dealing with." It was after all in a way a repeat of a "just trust me" scenario. We all became unhappy in that I didn't understand them and they didn't understand me.

We took Annabelle home, stopped feeding her meat and fed her only veggies. She responded well to that and lived happily for another 18 months following the "trust me" 1 to 2 months projection of her life expectancy given by the Vets.

Were they sincere in what they wanted to do with Annabelle? I hope that they were, yet if they are in the "healing business" can the economics of the business cloud their judgment and recommended treatments?

Almost six months ago, I ran into a fence chasing a ball while playing Paddle tennis and hurt my right shoulder. After a couple of months, I visited an Orthopedist who suggested that I had a torn rotator cuff, and after an MRI confirmed his diagnosis, the Doctor suggested surgery.

He acknowledged that I had painless total range of motion in my shoulder, yet he kept insisting that there was definitely a tear, and that it should be repaired. When I suggested that I was 75 years old and at worst I would not be able to play paddle tennis ever again, he continued his mantra which was "Norman, there is a tear, and it should be repaired."

He told me that the procedure was not a complex one, and he scoffed at my uneasiness and said that in 6 months I will be "all better and the very painful part of the procedure would be relatively short."

I am sorry that while he was talking, I could not help myself and I kept thinking of his fee if he was to perform the surgery. I am not at all happy that I even considered this as a possibility.

Here is my bad news, the people I mentioned above probably believed what they were telling me, and were not out to do me or Annabelle any harm, yet their "trust me" attitude somehow brings into play so much else in the "Just trust me" aspect of our lives.

Are all health professionals devoid of the "I need the money" aspect of their lives, and I am not suggesting that any of them consciously consider "the money."

I went to a Dermatologist for many years, who when freezing basil cell carcinomas from my arms would laugh as he did it and say:" Well that's a car payment" and after surgically removing something said: "that's a big one, perhaps a boat payment." He of course was joking; however, what he was saying was probably true.

I wish that the next time a part of or my entire body is in jeopardy, the Doctors will tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, even if they need the money.

I doubt that this will ever happen. I certainly do not think that all doctors are motivated by money, but my question would be: How do you know if they are or not?

I will burst out laughing if a Doctor or anyone else ever says:"Norman, Just Trust Me!

In that I love to mix inappropriate metaphors and subjects, I just thought I would mention in this context our beloved President who obviously lied to America about Iraq WMDS and "mushroom clouds." He has never told America the truth about all of this and remains unchallenged by most if not all of the Broadcast Networks. He continues his "just trust me" attitude when he speaks about Iran and what they are doing. It is incredible that when he or his minions says ANYTHIG about anything the "news readers" do not speak to the issue by saying "the government reports and we are unable to confirm..." whatever.

For the most part I would comment on those purported broadcast network journalists and say: "Journalism my ass."


Norman Horowitz