The Pre-Med Dilemma: How Medical School Can Change You

PSA: Doctors are turning into robots.

Although a rational fear, I am not talking about the kind of breakout of apocalyptic proportions. I’m actually referring to how the medical care system is becoming depersonalized now more than ever.

You can see this in the excessive number of misdiagnoses and unnecessary examinations that doctors order to suck money out of insurance companies.

Completely blind to the patient’s history and personal stories, doctors are missing the seat of the soul. That is, technology has become too much of an impediment during patient evaluations.

Sherry Turkle, a Professor of Science and Technology at MIT and expert on the rhetoric that surrounds using technology in medicine, is a huge advocate for decreasing the role phones have in our society. Sanders argues that since we’ve replaced face-to-face conversations with alternative communications, such as messaging and snapchatting, there have been negative consequences on the quality of doctor-patient relationships. In her book “Reclaiming Conversation” Sanders suggests that these days doctors have been shown to care little for empathy and attention. Years of Science-based learning and thousands of cases where people are treated as “iPatients” have left promising doctors, with the capacity to feel empathy, cold and depersonalized.

Many times medical offices provide careless services.

What would it feel like if you came in for an out of the ordinary check-up, anxious and concerned about your health, and don’t know what to expect. The nurse practitioner or physician would promptly lead you to an examination room, but would never introduce themselves to you.

On top of feeling overwhelmed, you’re receiving horrible treatment. They pay no special attention to you; they either don’t make eye contact or shake your hand. Meanwhile, their eyes are drawn to the computer screen or ipad they are typing away at to make a virtual profile that will never help you in your immediate situation.

Emotional emptiness defines the scary reality of the current state of our medical system. Not many doctors take longer than the allotted fifteen minute chunk of time for each patient. Physicians who invest the time it takes to thoroughly interview a patient must risk falling behind schedule.

These factors significantly fragment the quality of a doctor’s visit. Unfortunately, there is not much incentive to break from doctor conventions like when medical care is delivered in 15 “minute doses” – especially when both doctor and patient have their own agendas. Critics of the fragmented medical system forget that patients don’t like waiting two hours for a doctor’s visit. But sometimes efficiency is something empathetic physicians are willing to sacrifice for the benefit of their practice.

Reasonably, the future of empathy in medicine does not look promising.

This is a problem. And it is up to the future doctors of our generation to fix it. This is why I want to be a doctor.

The personal side of the profession is going extinct, and it is dying at the hands of the people who assimilate in the state of our current medical culture.

To change the culture, you have to change the minds of the people that adhere to it.

There is no such thing as a perfect practice, but one can do a lot to make it better. Seriously, medicine deals with countless predicaments that deal with life and death, and it is the responsibility of our generation to correct the wrongs that have been adopted for the sake of convenience.