Monday, February 7, 2011

Higher income means less empathy?

That appears to be the message from some medical students at Memorial University. They and their national student association, the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, say the federal government should come up with more money for medical students from rural and low-income parts of the country.

The reason?  Well, apparently students from the rural parts of Newfoundland will have more empathy for their fellow baymen than will higher income earning townie physicians.

A CBC report quotes MUN medical student Matthew Sheppard, now president of the national medical students association as saying, "Rural students are more likely to go back to practice in rural areas. Students from low-income backgrounds are able to treat patients from low-income backgrounds with more empathy than their more high-income counterparts."

So the less money you make as a doctor, the more empathetic you are? That certainly appears to be what Sheppard is saying. It’s a serious condemnation of many of the specialists who work at the Health Sciences Centre in St. Johns. It means that if a baymen comes in to get treated, he/she is likely to get less empathy from the high price tag doctors. Is the reverse true? Do they show more empathy for higher-income patients from here in town?  Wonder what the higher paid doctors think of that?  Wonder what the Dean of Medicine at MUN thinks of that?

Perhaps Sheppard should stop off at the Waterford to get his head examined and test his theory about less empathy from the higher paid doctors here in town.


Anonymous said...

It's the culture of entitlement that these doctors are trained in. My sister used to work at the medical school and she told me a bunch of times that the doctors act like gods and the students expect the same sort of treatment, believeing that they are more important than any other studnets.

ViewPoint2010 said...

I agree with you Anon. My next-door-neighbour works at the medical school and she often talks about what goes on there. It sounds like a VERY elitist mentality, so I guess I'm not surprised by this fellow saying that their rural cousins have more empathy with the poorer folk out in the "rural and low-income parts". Perhaps it has something to do with the BMWs, Mercedes & Land Rovers parked in the doctors parking. His gall truly amazes me and I'm surprised that the Dean of the medical school, who prides himself on promoting rural medicine, hasn't rushed to distance himself from that attitude. Could it be that he believes it is true? After all the agony that people were put through with the doctors’ recent contract negotiations, it tells me that this student is not in touch with the reality of Newfoundland’s rural areas. He probably has his eyes set on a profitable specialty working here in town at a 9-5 job where he doesn’t have to get his hands dirty. I think it says more about the attitude fostered at the medical school than anything else. Thanks for your comment.