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June 11, 1982

Abuse of Medical Students

JAMA. 1982;247(22):3079. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320470027011

To the Editor.—  I read the COMMENTARY by Henry K. Silver, MD, "Medical Students and Medical School" (1982;247:309). From my vantage points as a student who has been involved at state and national levels of organized medicine and as a senior at the terminal stage (pun intended) of undergraduate medical education, I share the author's concern for students' dehumanization at the hands of the system entrusted with their training.Dr Silver's analogy between "the battered child syndrome" in foster homes and the depressed students in medical school, while amusing, is not farfetched. Needless to say, the causes of such depression are manifold. Depersonalization occurs early, with the paucity of faculty-student personal interaction owing to large class size and to the endless string of computer-graded examinations preparatory to the more impersonal national boards. Burgeoning volumes of knowledge must be mastered rapidly, yet with the realization that much will become obsolete within