September 11, 2006

Reflections

Posted in Randumb at 10:34 pm by Iram

I spent eight hours in the anatomy lab today, part of that time in class and part of that time independently dissecting my cadaver in preparation for the lab session tomorrow in which I am scheduled to teach the interior of the thorax to my tank mates. After a few hours, the fumes start to get to you and I think they certainly got absorbed by the wrong parts of my brain today because, as I was cutting away at tissue and fascia and fat and hoping that I hadn’t severed anything important I came to a sudden realization: medical students are natural born killers!

Of course, throughout our education we are taught that the first and foremost rule when practicing any type of medicine is to do no harm. We certainly do everything in our power to improve quality of life, or at least quality of death, for our patients, but since the time of Hippocrates we never intentionally do anything that would negatively affect our patients’ health (or at least the moral physicians don’t). But, we don’t learn how to do this by being taught all of the various things that could possibly go wrong in the human body and then being taught the cure to every one of these pathologies. Instead, we learn by being told everything that should not be ‘broken’ (used in a loose sense of the word). We are then taught what the consequences would be if said tissues were ‘broken’. This means that in the process of learning what happens when certain tissues are damaged in a certain way, we are simultaneously learning what tissues to damage in order to create a desired result. Hopefully, no trained physician would ever consider using their knowledge for this purpose, but it is a scary thought that to a certain extent we hold life, and death, in our hands.

1 Comment »

  1. Aamir said,

    and your employers (patients) hold your life, and job, in their lawyer’s hands.


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