Frequently Asked Questions Part Four
Q. How can you claim that our
healthcare system is in complete shambles? My doctor is wonderful.
He spends lots of time with me. I couldn't ask for more.
A. Granted, there are thousands of extremely
dedicated doctors and healthcare workers. But this
doesn't change the fact that there are millions of people who do not
receive adequate healthcare, and countless diseases that cannot be
diagnosed and treated.
Q. I'm a doctor.
Even though I have never used calculus
or organic chemistry to diagnose an illness or treat a
patient, I'm not sure the process of learning was a waste of time.
Who is to say that that process did not make me a better student who was
better able to digest the almost impossible volume of information
presented to me in medical school?
A. It is a question of relevancy.
In the game of life, we have to
keep our eye on the ball. We have to stop using denial. One
of the problems I face is that so many people will defend their
with the same illogic as a cult member will defend theirs. With
many people, their educational background is intimately connected with
worth. A criticism of their education is taken as a
personal attack. This is a deep-seated emotional issue which in
many people will override logic. This is very complex and cannot
be answered fully in a paragraph. Please follow the links to
get a more complete picture.
Q. I disagree
with your suggestion that medical students would offer a
valuable service to practicing physicians. Medical students (and
junior-level residents) invariably slow-down experienced doctors due to
their inefficiency. I am a full-time academic physician who
enjoys teaching, but sees firsthand how well-meaning but inexperienced
students and residents will decrease your ability to see patients
A. Many doctors pay good money
to hire medical assistants. The
function of the assistant in this proposal is to take patient
histories, and record them in the chart. While he is doing this, the
doctor is doing other things. The student is primarily learning from the
patient, not the doctor. When the doctor sees the patient, he has
the advantage of a detailed history that he would never have time to
take himself. Keep in mind that this is
If the doctor doesn't wish to participate, he doesn't have to.
Q. But aren't students already getting adequate patient
interaction? Most medical schools begin patient/student
interactions late in the first year or early in the second year.
They are already spending time interacting with patients, although not
several hours a day (until the third and fourth year).
A. The student has had eight years of mostly irrelevant
institutional learning before he even gets to medical
school. Furthermore, the patient interaction in the first two
years of medical school is usually very minimal.
Q. Community physicians will need some type of compensation due
to diminished ability to see patients efficiently under your
A. Most of the teaching
physicians in medical schools, internships, residencies and
teaching clinics are volunteering their time free of charge.
Furthermore, they are willing to commute a great distance do this.
Doesn't it make more sense to have this take place in the doctor’s
office, where no commuting is necessary, and a more intimate
relationship can be established?
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