Readers Respond to "Medical Student 'Hazing' Is Unhealthy and Unproductive"

Dhara Shah, MD; Lee Karr; Lydell Anderson, MD; W.L. Williams, MD, MPH&TM, MBA

Disclosures

To the Editor,

I read Christine Wiebe's editorial on medical student hazing and could not help but respond.[1] Not only in the Western world, but also here in India, we face similar problems. Here it is called "ragging," and it is not only performed by the faculty, but also by senior medical students. To a certain extent it can be fun, but when it crosses the line it is quite humiliating. Our group had decided not to do this to our juniors, and we have stuck to our resolve. It really feels good even after so many years that we did what we ought to do.

At the present time, I must say that the majority of the medical school faculty and seniors are against hazing, and that's a healthy change -- and about time, too.

We are supposed to take care of people -- human beings -- and if we act as we have in the past, what type of role models are we going to be for our junior doctors?

With respect to how we treat our students, that's a question that we all need to ask ourselves.

With best regards,
Dhara Shah, MD
Medical Services
Cadila Healthcare Ltd.

Reference

  1. Wiebe C. Medical student "hazing" is unhealthy and unproductive. MedGenMed. 2007;9:60. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/557598 Accessed August 15, 2007.

 


To the Editor,

The author's exhortations were remarkably well expressed and persuasive.[1] But, I fear that they are likely to suffer the fate of most rhetoric. After all, what has been the fate of worthwhile similar exhortations, such as those that have been directed at physicians for decades, concerning their execrable handwashing habits?

Medicine can no longer afford to rely on rhetoric to do the job of fixing things because such expressions characteristically address, and attempt to suppress, only symptoms. More sophisticated and inclusive efforts are required, such as the fundamental reform of healthcare. Fundamental reform, which would certainly include reining in the excesses of hazing, has long been called for by a host of responsible physicians and others. Such reform would lead to transformational change rather than simply symptom suppression.

Active and sophisticated pursuit of such reform, as opposed to simply calling for it, has been conspicuously absent in medicine, probably ever since preoccupation with entrepreneurial considerations has assumed the ascendancy. To paraphrase Dr. George D. Lundberg: Medicine must get a grip on itself, before someone does it for them. This applies to curbing the excesses of hazing, which were touched upon in the essay in question, as well as in the several other critical areas in which medicine has fallen far short of heeding its own advice.

Lee Karr
Venice, Florida
leekarr3@verizon.net

Reference

  1. Wiebe C. Medical student "hazing" is unhealthy and unproductive. MedGenMed. 2007;9:60. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/557598 Accessed August 15, 2007.

 


To the Editor,

Thank you for publishing Christine Wiebe's excellent article/video on Medscape.[1] As a former practicing physician now studying computer science and doing some nonclinical consulting, I can say that your superb article encapsulates the essence of part of the problem, but only touches the surface. I'm not exactly sure what constitutes hazing, but I can say that the clinical years of medical school and residency were not particularly the highlights of my life, even though I purposely chose programs known for being relatively humane.

For years, we have heard about how medical students are being required to attend classes in how to develop rapport with patients. I've even read that acting classes are helpful to teach young docs how to communicate empathy. Unfortunately, that misses the point: The best way to teach people how to love and respect others is for them to be loved and respected themselves.

And I don't mean just "words." I mean treating medical students and resident physicians as if they have the same rights to food, water, and sleep as the patients they have studied to heal. Pushing a sleep-deprived resident to attend classes in doctor-patient relationships is missing the point.

The present healthcare system in the United States is abysmal in many ways. Third-party payments by insurers have broken down the traditional doctor-patient bonds, and other pressures have forced a patient load that is humanly impossible. Our medical record system is outmoded.

Thanks again,
Lydell Anderson, MD

Reference

  1. Wiebe C. Medical student "hazing" is unhealthy and unproductive. MedGenMed. 2007;9:60. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/557598 Accessed August 15, 2007.

 


To the Editor,

No one mentioned the fact that these abused medical students pass on this tradition of abuse and disruption to the nurses and other caregivers at the hospital.[1] Abusive physicians are one of the primary reasons nurses leave their profession. Sadly, we have been putting up with this behavior for generations, but it has to stop for the sake of hospital personnel, colleagues, patients, and society (including doctors' families).

W.L. Williams, MD, MPH&TM, MBA
Chief Medical Officer, Clinical Effectiveness
Tenet Healthcare Corporation
Dallas, Texas
WL.Williams@tenethealth.com

Reference

  1. Wiebe C. Medical student "hazing" is unhealthy and unproductive. MedGenMed. 2007;9:60. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/557598 Accessed August 15, 2007.

Editor's Note:
These letters were shown to the author who has chosen not to reply.

 

 

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE
Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as:

processing....