Monday, March 14, 2005

PC Silliness in Med School

It seems that Medical College of Ohio is instituting a new $2 million program to teach "bedside manners". It seems that a Ruth Hillebrand had a particularly bad experience with her physician:

"As the school told it, Hillebrand's doctor in New York called her late one night and told her she had mesothelioma. He said there was no treatment and no cure. Then he hung up."

Ultimately, both she and her brother died of this disease and a grant to MCO was made in her name. To me, this is the essense of political correctness. While certainly I don't deny what a wonderful thing a donation like this is, I think the problem to be addressed with it will never be solved with a program like this. You can't teach how to be a human being. I feel the same way about the teaching of ethics in business school and law school.

Medical students are for the most part, fully formed humans. They are adults (averaging around 22+ years of age. They bring certain values to their training. If a student's values are poor, if he doesn't have basic, human empathy, if he can't feel his patient's pain as manifested by the behavior of Ruth Hillebrand's physician, there is truly no hope for that student.

All the sensitivity training in the world won't make a bit of difference. If a statement such as the following makes no impact on a medical student, the rest is just window dressing:

"Almighty God...Preserve the strength of my body and of my soul that they ever be ready cheerfully to help and support rich and poor, good and bad, enemy as well as friend. In the sufferer let me see only the human being."
(A Jewish Prayer for the Physician)

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though medical students or "fully formed humans", they still need knowledge and training. Why not training in how to act toward the patient? Training on medical procedures is vital so what is to say that some training on ethical and "human" treatment of patients would not pay off? Of course, any training could not work miracles in some doctors-to-be but a case can be made that it could make a difference in some if not many. How about making the course mandatory and giving grades. That ought to provide an incentive!

March 16, 2005 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though medical students or "fully formed humans", they still need knowledge and training. Why not training in how to act toward the patient? Training on medical procedures is vital so what is to say that some training on ethical and "human" treatment of patients would not pay off? Of course, any training could not work miracles in some doctors-to-be but a case can be made that it could make a difference in some if not many. How about making the course mandatory and giving grades. That ought to provide an incentive!

March 16, 2005 9:23 AM  
Blogger JusPasenThru said...

Sorry, I don't think it's PC and I think it's a great idea. I can only speak for myself, but I'm a lot more sensitive to my patients' suffering than I was (gulp) 25 years ago. The "crazies" are easier to take care of becasue I've had to face my own panic attacks, etc, etc.

March 16, 2005 6:52 PM  

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