Doctors-in-training hit with knives, punched, left crying in hospitals

So I started medical school in Germany. Germany has a very strange system. At that time it was relatively easy to get into medical school, but then they do everything to get you out of medical school. It’s the opposite of the United States. It has changed now. It’s very abusive from the get go. When I was a medical student, there was something wrong with the system that they over-calculated and there were 10,000 unemployed physicians in Germany. There were a lot of physician taxi drivers and so on. So the typical position you got at that time was a 3-month contract and usually a specialty that you didn’t want to be in. And it was highly abusive so your superiors could do anything with you: I mean hit you, I mean throw knives at you, and it was completely okay because you were happy you had a position as a doctor. And so I realized very quickly into medical school that that wasn’t really the thing that I wanted—being abused like that.  So I started orienting towards other possibilities. 

And then I got a scholarship to move to France, to medical school there for two years.  And it was the same thing. They had more of a physician shortage, but it was so highly abusive in medical school. I mean there was one surgical department where every single day all the professors had to say were mean things calling people words, yelling at students and residents in the OR. It was interesting.

Eventually I was invited to study in the states and I moved to California and it was a little bit similar there. I was only there for a short time and there was some protection from people there and it wasn’t that bad and then I got into residency in the States and there we go again. I mean I remember one ER doc he always hit me on the shoulder if I gave the wrong answer. There were 6 main faculty, 3 of which were completely burned out themselves, but they liked what they were doing but they couldn’t do it anymore . . . it seemed like they didn’t feel like they were doing a good job if the resident wasn’t crying . . . every day there was a resident crying, but we’re not talking about 3-year-old children not getting their chocolate. They were adult, mature people, very bright in the residency. They were all really bright people, but they were crying because they didn’t know the answer to some silly question. I don’t know what it was about or they missed something completely irrelevant. 

I realized how much abuse there was throughout. You had to be self-abusive in order to get your MCATs in order to get into medical school, go through medical school and get into residency, get a good residency, go through residency it is all abusive. You have to be completely self-neglectant and I realized I didn’t want that, yet I needed the board certification and it was only 3 years and I graduated from that and then around that time, at the end of residency, I met Pamela . . .

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Pamela Wible, M.D., reports on human rights violations in medicine. She helps health professionals heal from their trauma and open ideal clinics. Join our teleseminars and retreats. Stop suffering now.

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