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Do med students have place in ensuring access to healthcare?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Activist MD, Jun 12, 2000.

  1. Activist MD

    Activist MD Junior Member
    10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I complained a lot about medicine before I applied to medical schools (still do)... not about the profession itself but where things are right now and how everything is so systemized, and neither the patient, nor the physician (and I've heard even the HMOs now) have any power.

    I spent a summer in India doing HIV education in low income communities and it blew me away the inequality that exists between the houses of have and want at a global level. Safderjung hospital, a government run institute that serves the under privileged population of Delhi, is nothing but a vast compound with half abandoned buildings. Ward after ward is titled 'Emergency Medicine', reflecting that most patients only sought care when they absolutely needed it. Outside every clinic there was a long line of
    casualties: children with bleeding heads, old men coughing insistently, pregnant women, and corpses covered with bed sheets lining the
    The only thing missing was a medical staff. I stopped to talk to a family of an unconscious young man who had just lost his right leg in an accident. His mother had covered the injured side with a white towel.
    I asked her if they had seen the doctor yet. She replied between her wailing that it was lunch time and the doctors would not be back for another hour. I stood in between all the chaos and wondered why I did not feel more disturbed than I was. I realized it was because some part of me refused to believe that this was reality.
    The reason I'm being so long winded about this is because I am so PISSED. I am so angry that the problem is misdistribution and not lack of resources. Of course the national picture is just as bleak.

    I'm angry that thousands of people die of AIDS in Africa because pharmacuetical companies refuse to give them patent rights. That there are going to be 40 million orhpans in those countries by 2015 because their parents died of AIDS. I'm really mad that the reason so many Americans don't have healthcare is because they fall through the cracks of a half assed system. What else do you call a system that bases your right to health depending on whether you have a job. Then tries to bandage the leaks with overhead payments.

    Now that I'm going into medicine, I wonder why us medstudents and etc.. who are part of the system and will define its future don't have more of a say (or take more of the share) in what it should look like. I mean think about it. .. starting from the whole rat race of being a premed: I can tell you horror stories of people who went through it with me. WHY?

    The overworking of residents, the hierarchy over training med students. Not in many other professions would you take such disrespect. And why should you? Is that a rite of passage? SO what? So you can be just as rude and inconsiderate of your patients when the time comes?

    There is some organizing. The residents at Boston Medical Center won their right to fair labor hours and treatments. A network of med students in the Boston organizing an organization based on the sole purpose of universal health care coverage in MA.

    I wanted to hear from people on this board around the country about things they have done, heard of, or what they think about the issue of medical students' place in changing the current status of health access and delivery. Any ideas on how to make a change?


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