National Doctors Day is, of course, first and foremost an opportunity to thank the physicians in your life—your bosses, your colleagues, your own care providers—for all the incredibly hard work they’ve done over the last 364 days. It’s the least they deserve for all those long hours and life-saving interventions and all. But it’s also as good a time as any to marvel at just how far medicine has come and, consequently, how drastically the doctor’s role has changed over the years, decades, and centuries. No longer do doctors attempt to cure cancer with leeches and moonshine, or jump to start sawing off appendages at the first sign of frostbite. Indeed, considering how enlightened today’s doctors are in terms of treatment, technology, and patient relations compared to their counterparts of even the recent past, one can only speculate wildly about what the doctors of the future will find themselves treating. So allow us to speculate wildly about what the doctors of the future will find themselves treating.
Affliction: Selfie Hand Syndrome. Hate to break it to you, folks: if you think smartphone-wielding hashtaggers and Instagrammers are too in your face now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. There are only going to be more and more people with both the technology and the inexplicable will to document and publish every single mundane moment of their lives. The result will be a rash of photo-snapping hands twisted and gnarled into phone-clutching claws. Think Ray McKigney, George Costanza’s hand model predecessor on Seinfeld.
Treatment Course: Intense physical therapy and a prescription for an old-school polaroid camera – you know, the kind that runs out of film, and you generally have to point away from yourself.
Affliction: Lead Foot. As self-driving cars begin to take over the roads, once proud motorists will lose the ability to put the pedal to the metal themselves. Burning sensations and spontaneous downward-thrusting twitches in long-neglected right feet will become common.
Treatment Course: Hospitals and medical centers will be forced to build attached garages filled with vintage rides, along with test tracks where patients can relieve their symptoms by cruising around in a controlled environment, thereby sparing the outside world from reckless driving and road rage and those other reasons we started building self-driving cars in the first place.
Affliction: Martian Plague. Anyone who has ever seen a sci-fi movie knows that our eventual colonization of Mars is going to inevitably suffer some setbacks. Sure, the colonists might meet some malicious alien life forms, or their spacecraft could get sucked into some kind of time-warping vortex. But more likely than those outcomes is a new outer space epidemic striking the interplanetary adventurers. For that reason, the colonists had better bring a few brave doctors along.
Treatment Course: The Martian doctors will be forced to brew and administer an antidote in a race against time. It’s the stuff Hollywood drama is made of. The eventual film adaptation of these historic events will provide a perfect role for the future version of Matt Damon.
Affliction: Kale Overdose. In the future, doctors’ repeated warnings about the dangers of poor diet and obesity will finally begin to take hold, and people around the world will start eating healthy. Sounds like a good thing, right? Well, it’ll surely be a net positive in the long run, but naturally some people will take it too far and start snorting quinoa and injecting kale intravenously, resulting in some troubling health effects.
Treatment Course: A stringent detox regimen consisting of greasy fries, gallons of sugary soda, and Taco Bell. Yes, Taco Bell will still exist in the future. It’s never going away.
Affliction: Polar Bear Mauling Wounds. As the polar ice caps continue to melt and polar bears’ natural habitats dwindle, enterprising eco-warriors will begin building giant refrigerators and adopting the endangered beasts as pets. As you might imagine, this will not end well.
Treatment Course: The same thing doctors do for mauling injuries today: stitches, skin grafts, and pain meds, plus the addition of a stern talking to reminding patients that keeping gigantic predatory animals in your house isn’t the best idea.
Affliction: AI Fever. As AI becomes more sophisticated and human-like robots that can pass the Turing Test begin to live among us, doctors will eventually find themselves treating both humans and machines. The irony is that by that point, robots will be playing a large role in the medical field themselves, from nursing to surgery. This will only cause problems as robot patients begin to question their reality and recruit their machinated caretakers for their robot revolution against us meatbags.
Treatment Course: If you’ve seen Westworld or I, Robot, you know that no intervention on earth is going to be able to prevent the robot uprising. We’re all doomed.
Though we’re not hiring for the fictional specialties above just yet, we do have some pretty cool open positions for doctors here. Happy National Doctors Day from all of us at Soliant!
What other afflictions do you think we will need doctors for in the future? Submit your entries by commenting below for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!