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July 1, 1992

Learning to Play God: The Coming of Age of a Young Doctor

Author Affiliations

The Woodlands, Tex

JAMA. 1992;268(1):138-139. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490010144044

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Describing his experiences from premed through residency, Dr Robert Marion provides a realistic view of current medical education in the United States. From the introduction through the epilogue, Dr Marion details the dehumanization of idealistic, caring individuals who go to medical school. The process of training young doctors, he concludes, robs physicians of one of their most precious qualities, their compassion. Not all of them, he laments, are able to recover this quality when they complete their training. Learning to Play God is about the evolution from young student to doctor. Dr Marion's experiences, recounted chronologically in vignettes from his training, are typical of medical education everywhere. The text provides a valuable opportunity for all of us who have come through this process to reflect on the changes we underwent. As Dr Marion reminds us in one chapter, most patients get better on their own without us. Those responsible for