Appendix 79 - Scarred

by Michael Greger, MD and United Progressive Alumni

[ Medical School Resources | Appendices | Discussion ]

He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how - Nietzsche

"I hated medical school so much that I felt guilty of mind crime," one student writes in the Humanist. "After I graduated, I was asked by acquaintances whether medical school was as difficult as all that.... I replied that what I experienced was as bad as any of the accounts I had read."[983] "When I look back at the year," writes another student, "during which I have learnt so much about my self, I feel battered."[984] "The best of us did not return."[985]

I gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth it - Richard Bach

From the book Doctor-to-be: Coping with the Trials and Triumphs of Medical School, student Margaret Fang writes:

I want you to know that I have changed since I have entered medical school. I realize that I am vulnerable as ever but have learned to hide this under a guise of indifference. Medical education has changed me. I don't know why it is hard for me to share this with my fellow classmates. I am no longer truly myself.... I wonder if I too will succumb to accepting things the way they are, even if I find something as being totally inappropriate or demeaning to patients.... The incredible stresses and pressures of medical school have made me pass people without realizing they are there, without taking the few seconds to be human and humane. How can I ever heal others if I cannot heal myself?[986]

"If I were to have an eye removed," writes Dr. Michelle Harrison in the epilogue of A Woman in Residence, "then I would forever be a person with only one eye. If I were to take in poison without spitting it out, I would be a poisoned person. I might survive, but I would be damaged. Medical training is no less violent than surgery or poisoning. It leaves women and men no less scarred or no less without the organs that have been removed."[987]



[983] Holly, J. "Medical Student Abuse." Humanist 58(1998):3.

[984] "Thanks but No Thanks." British Medical Journal 306(1993):1205.

[985] Frankl, VE. Man's Search for Meaning New York: Pocket Books, 1997.

[986] Knight, JA. Doctor-to-be: Coping with the Trials and Triumphs of Medical School New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1981:328.

[987] Osborne, D. "My Wife, the Doctor." Mother Jones 1983(January):21-25, 42-44.



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