The problem with being a generalist is that there are always people who
know more than you in any area. Surely, I used to think, if one
restricted one's practice to a very limited area, such as ophthalmology,
it would be possible to know virtually all that the state of the art
A number of years ago, I was at a medical meeting, I think somewhere in New York State, and
I was having lunch with one of the speakers, who was an eye specialist
from New York. I didn't know his specialty and asked
"And what do you do?"
"I'm a retinologist," he said, handing me his business card.
Retina, Lens, Vitreous. Inc. (vitreous is the jelly inside the eye).
Dr. A - Lens. Dr.B-Retina. Dr.C-Vitreous.
Being a dumb GP from Saskatchewan I asked,"Who refers to you? When I
need to refer to an ophthalmologist I need a good generalist who is
likely to be able to deal with whatever I send him."
tolerantly,"My referrals come mostly from general ophthalmologists,who
can't define the problem or have mismanaged the case or performed
unsuccessful surgery and want me to bail them out".
When I was a schoolboy, we used this appropriate jingle :
Big fleas have little fleas, that on their legs do bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
So on to ad infinitum!