Being in medicine is a privilege we must recognize

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  1. James Pookay

    It’s kind of ironic that a medical student wrote an article taking about “checking your privilege” where they chastise their more learned colleagues for not practicing medicine properly where they are a long way from actually carrying the burden of full responsibility themselves.

    Doctors are not social workers. There already aren’t enough hours, energy or funding to go around to allow the average doctor to perform their main function adequately, the practice of medicine, while maintaining their personal lives and their sanity.

    By all means, be aware of poverty and tailor your approach based on individual circumstances. Learn what’s on or off your provincial formulary. Get a general sense of drug costs and pick cheaper alternatives whenever appropriate. Don’t charge people for sick notes if they can’t afford it. Help people whenever you can to fill out government documentation for additional funding. Don’t start people on expensive drug samples if they could never reasonably afford the medication out-of-pocked once the samples run dry.

    But your main prerogative is to practice medicine and do it expertly. This job is hard enough. Don’t take on the worlds problems. They will sink you and you will lose.

    • Miriam Kaufman

      As someone close to the end of my medical career, I must disagree with Dr. Pookay. Our students are in a position to see the medical world from the inside without having fully become insiders and I think we can benefit from the insights they give us.
      You are right that our time is tight, but making assumptions can lead to missed diagnoses, prescribing meds that patients can’t afford, or blaming patients for their illnesses.
      I have read some of your other comments on various blogs and know that you are concerned about getting the appropriate tests and medications covered for your patients. It doesn’t take an inordinate amount of time to take the next step and incorporate Mr. Doshi’s ideas into your approach.

  2. Patricia Houston ,

    Thank you for this thoughtful and thought provoking article. Understanding that being a health care provider is truly a privilege and bringing change to the “elitism” in our profession must be a priority across the educational continuum. I look forward to working with Samik and the next generation of physicians to ensuring this is a priority in our MD Program

  3. Patrick McDonald

    A thoughtful and though-provoking piece. We truly are one of the more privileged groups in society and would benefit from reminding ourselves of that regularly. I have become more troubled over time with the relative lack of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in medical school. Deregulation of professional school tuitions in some provinces has put med school out of reach for many and I wonder how many don’t even consider it because of the cost. The University of Manitoba has started to factor socioeconomic background into their admission process- hopefully more schools will follow suit.

  4. Lynda Kirby

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, empathetic and important article Samik.
    If The College of Physicians and Surgeons were to lobby for uncontaminated water on our First Nations reserves, to the government officials responsible , I am certain we would see quicker action.

    I once met some staff who had been working in war torn countries with Médecins Sans Frontiers. They all said it as more difficult to see what was happening on our reserves in terms of health care. Our First Nations people deserve top notch health care, without judgement and criticism.

    Meet Dr, Nadine Caron, Canada’s first FN surgeon and listen to story.

  5. BLM is not Justice

    “There is a worry that our place in medical school is not to be “political,” but part of acknowledging our privilege means engaging with the world around us and pushing for social change. This is slowly shifting, as was seen when student Medical Societies released statements last year standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.”

    Black Lives Matter Toronto is not an organization worth looking up to.

    1. Black Lives Matter refused to sell a white woman a T-shirt for solidarity because she is not black.

    2. Black Lives Matter Toronto leader sends out a tweet, praying to God/Allah to give her the power to not kill black people.

    3. Black Lives Matter Toronto leader, Yusra Khogali, says white people have inferior genes.

    I am a person of color, an immigrant, and I am a physician. But I have a lot of issues with ignorant students such as yourself trying to virtue signal to others on how much you care about social justice by latching on to the cause en vogue. When you critically look at the cause, it turns out that it’s not necessarily about justice, and the leaders who claim to care about justice are incredibly racist and bigoted themselves. You really think supporting this group will lead to positive social change?

    Congratulations, in your ignorance you have spoken for hundreds of medical students in supporting a group with leaders who have said unthinkable racist comments. But anything to make yourselves feel better on how much you’re fighting against oppression right? Whatever makes you sleep at night.

  6. Scott Wooder

    I enjoyed reading this article.

    I was not privileged going into Medical school but I sure am privileged now. I think about that privilege everyday, especially on the bad days. It helps me focus on the patient.

    Well done and keep up the good work


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