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June 11, 1982

Abuse of Medical Students

JAMA. 1982;247(22):3079-3080. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320470027013

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To the Editor.—  As a senior medical student interested in pediatrics, I was disturbed by the comments of Dr Silver. It is professional sycophancy for a pediatrician to compare the effects of physical and psychological violence observed in abused children with the admittedly sobering confrontation of medical students by the realities of their profession. Medical students are indeed abused by these realities (as is the rest of our profession). Students are also subjected to petty abuse by their mentors on occasion, as was amply illustrated in "The Chief" (1981;246:1457). Medical students, however, are not battered or subjected to sexual abuse without recourse. Unlike abused children, medical students are well known for their ability to appreciate abuse and complain.The demands of our profession are abusive, as evidenced by the suicides, substance abuse, divorces, and other family problems among practitioners. The abuse incurred during our training and practice is redemptive, however.