The next patient was a little old lady, still extremely bright and sprightly for her advanced age and with pertinent opinions to match. I can't remember how we got on to the subject, but she was telling me what a waste of time football was. I nodded to indicate my approval of her sentiments.
Does it matter that I was implying two different points of view in two consultations? There are some topics where it might be important for a doctor to state his or her views clearly, for example if the patient started making racist or sexist comments. But in most cases I don't think it matters if am vague about my personal opinions. Sometimes patients will use the doctor as a sounding board, and at such times it is probably better if the doctor is a “blank canvas”, or at least someone who does not have dogmatic opinions. If I were known to be a rabid right-winger, would a trade unionist be happy to consult me?
You may be wondering, dear Reader, whether I am in fact a football fan or not. I can do no better than to quote the statement attributed to Calvin Coolidge, when asked to endorse a certain product.
“People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing that they like.”