February 1988

Humanities in the Medical School Curriculum

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(2):484-485. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380020228033

To the Editor.  —It is, at first, appealing to suggest that an adjustment in the undergraduate curriculum requirements of medical school applicants would improve the humanitarian characteristics of physicians. However, a closer examination of the problem and the solution proposed in the editorial on humanities in the medical school curriculum in the April 1987 issue of the Archives,1 reveals that this suggestion is nothing more than subtle "scapegoating" by the authors.The problem is that patients are less and less satisfied with the relationship they have with their physicians. This solution reduces the origin of this problem to a deplorable gap in the humanities studies of premedical students. This is not only incorrect, but misleading, because the real dehumanizing experience that leads to a depersonalized medical scientist as opposed to a thinking, feeling physician occurs during medical school and residency.At this point in my medical career, I am

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