|As a [medical] student, I did not have the slightest idea how to walk alongside patients in their suffering, but I did become pretty good at answering multiple-choice questions in ninety seconds. As a resident physician, I’m learning quickly that being a successful doctor in 2020 is similar. Today, medicine has more to do with efficiently processing patients like car engines (“treat ’em and street ’em,” as I’m told) than attending faithfully to patients as whole persons. When we doctors discuss “empathy,” it is because we know it is effective — apparently, displaying at least forty seconds of compassion per patient encounter gets the patient to do what we want. It is literally deemed more important that I know what to bill for than what medicine is for. As physician Anne Lifflander put it, “We have rendered the questions meaningless (although still reimbursable).”
It has been my experience that most students come into medical school asking important and difficult questions about the practice of medicine and the vulnerability of patients, and it is those students to whom medical school has little to say….
Read the complete article here.