Tuesday, January 16, 2007
OK, it's official: what little is left of my mind is now totally blown. In today's New York Times is a full page ad for ICDs (implantable cardiac defibrillator), and it's aimed straight at the consumer. I've gotten used to the ubiquitous ads for every prescription medication in the book; which is not to say they don't annoy me anymore. It's just that I've descended into a sort of overload that allows me to ignore them. Plus, in my bailiwick of the medical barnyard, it's rare to have a patient request a particular medication (other than the "this pain medicine yer givin me ain't fer shit" trope.) But this, this really is something.
"532 Candlelight Dinners; 4,354 Blissful Moments; 687 Walks in the Rain," it lists. Never mind that it sounds like a pathetic ad in the personals section of a book review mag (not that I read them.) It goes on to say "...ICD can give you more time to do the things you love with the people you love. You see ( getting very close and sensitive, maybe trying to whisper in your ear), an ICD is the most effective way to protect you from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (Capitalized!)" It goes on to give a handy website for more information, and suggests (how could you not, after all that?) "then talk to your doctor."
Sudden Death!! Gol' Dang, what 'er we waiting fer?? Maggie! Fire up the ol' buggy, we're headin' to town to talk to Doc Andy and get us one of them things. Got no time fer no website, even if'n we had onenna them 'puters.
Well, I suppose they're aiming higher: they put it in the NYT, after all.
The hell of it is, it must work: it certainly seems to with drug ads. But a heart operation? We're not talking Viagra here (if your heart-shock lasts more than four hours, seek immediate medical attention.) Hard-hearted?
I suppose the thought is that not everyone who's had a heart attack is being advised to get an ICD, and the reason must be that doctors are circumspect enough that they need jogging from their patients. "You mean you don't care if I ever walk on a beach at sunset, Doc? No more nookie, and you don't care?" Damn the odds and indications! We can sell these things if we just get people to want them. Like surround sound. "Just because" is a reason, if properly fortified with scare tactics. It's a huge insult to physicians, for one thing. And to the target audience, whose emotions, they figure, are pretty easily manipulated.
But what really bugs me is that I never thought of it myself: