Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who can become a doctor?

Sorry about the lack of posts, but not much of interest relating to my going to medical school has happened lately. No news from Western U yet, they still haven't sent my official alternate list letter. And Touro still hasn't withdrawn a thousand dollars even though I gave them the credit card form weeks ago.

On another note, I came across an interesting article which brings up the question of who should become doctors. Now, if you asked someone, "Can anyone become a doctor?" then usually they would respond, "Of course! If you want something and work hard enough, you earned it! This is America after all." Then you have to ask, "What if that person molested a child, or killed a Jew in a neo-Nazi hate crime?" You usually don't picture a person like that aiming to become a doctor, but in many countries, most recently Sweden, such cases have occurred.

This article describes a current problem at Sweden's most prestigious medical school - they admitted a Nazi-sympathizing felon who was convicted of murder and served for 6.5 years before applying for medical school. In Sweden, it is almost always illegal to require a criminal background check, and apparently the screeners and interviewers did not seem concerned about the 6.5 year gap in this student's record. They have managed to make it nearly impossible for him to graduate and become a practicing physician by restricting him from clinical experience, but the issue still remains.

Being a physician, like being a school teacher or a priest or in any other position in which you have a mentor-like power status, includes certain standards of behavior and morality. Would you want your fourth-grader being taught by a physically abusive alcoholic? Would you want your priest to be an ex-child molester? Just the same, you would not want your physician, someone you trust when you are at your most vulnerable, to be a convicted rapist or murderer. I believe in equal opportunity as much as anyone, but you have to draw a line at some point in the interest of protecting people. We usually want to think that the only criteria for a job is a person's academic background, work experience, and recommendations, but there is a host of personal qualities that are equally, sometimes more, important. I know there is always the question of whether a person can change, learn from what they did, etc. I understand forgiving "mistakes" but maliciously murdering someone? I think some "mistakes" teach best by prohibiting a person from achieving their dream. If after raping or murdering and thoroughly destroying the lives of others they can spend a few years in jail and then live the rest of their life as if nothing happened, that is a crime in itself.


  1. Technically speaking, to the best of my knowledge, you don't need a drug check to teach. Yes, that is as retarted as it sounds. This is based on commentary from teachers I know and from what I've figured out so far in the sub process.

  2. Maybe they should =P I know you need drug checks to work at Kaiser - though they didnt require me to take one I don't think...