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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Med Trainees Succumbing to Addiction

We often look to medical professionals, particularly doctors, as modern-day 'clergy' of science. With the politicization of medicine (along with school and just about everything else it seems), access to doctors has been whipped up into an 'essential' for modern life.

Never mind that fact that mankind has lasted thousands of years without doctors, and even the previous generation often resisted going to the doctor even when deathly ill.  That generation has died off from old age, and now as the Baby Boomers hit the age where medical problems become unavoidable, they are pounding down the doors of medical groups seeking services.

There is a high expectation of doctors, as there once was of clergy.  Of course, in today's world in the US, the average 'pastor' is under-educated by historical standards.  When you look at seminary curricula from 150 years ago and today, you can see the deterioration.  The exact opposite is true of medical doctors: they are expected to know far more than ever.

So, the numbers may astonish us, when we see that MD interns are struggling with addiction:

It is assumed in our modern world that an educated man is a moral man.  That is not necessarily so.  Education once implied that one studied classical literature that discussed morality and ethics.  Certainly, doctors do in their training, but it is a very small sliver of their education, which is often cast in the context of 'liability' or blame.

But, since most of our universities have become places that not only question morals, but actually set out to provide a culture where morality is disdained, then one can assume that all of the moral lapses of normal university life will rub off on the doctor-trainees who attend them.  And, yes, addiction often begins with poor moral choices.  When we think it is OK to use alcohol or drugs to cope, this is a moral decision.

When you have an educational ethos which frowns on religion, or specifically Christianity, then you are also producing a generation of people who will be agnostic at best.  Sure, they may not become utter atheists, but a weak faith is effectively no faith when you are thrown into the stresses of Med School.  So, students need a way to cope with their fears, and so they use drugs.  Then they get in trouble, and we wonder why they are acting like irresponsible 'college kids'?  Oh, wait...

The sad thing is that drug abuse is actually killing so many medical interns.  But, if you look at the overall numbers for college students, it gets worse:

Of course, I had to laugh at the author's conclusion... make overdose medication an over-the-counter item.  Never mind the fact that most alcohol OD deaths occur when everyone things that Joe or Sally just needs to 'sleep it off.'  When I was in the Navy, I had to pull a couple of shifts on 'drunk watch.'  It involved making sure the 'patient' slept on his stomach (so as to not choke) and making sure he continued to breathe.  

College students just drag their buddy onto a couch and continue to party.  I know, because several kids in my own college died exactly like that... in the middle of a party.  They weren't found to be dead until the next day when someone tried to rouse them.

Our universities are not forming morally-equipped doctors, or for that matter, morally-equipped graduates of any profession.  They may get oodles of information and stern lectures about accepting 'homosexuality' or using politically-correct terminology, but rarely do they get anything that will help them mature into stable human being.  They may not discriminate, but they tend to come out of college as over-sexed, immature basket-cases.  I know because I talk to recent graduates and I see that a four-year degree these days leaves one absolutely puzzled about life.

They have few answers, but they have lots of experiences... mostly involving drugs and alcohol.  It takes years for many of them to straighten out and get on with life.  Most of the time, it seems like adulthood starts to gel around 30.  Sadly, I think that the modern college experience leaves one with their 20s entirely wasted, hustling to pay student loans and dissatisfied with one's personal life.

But, getting back to the topic, we can't expect our next generation of doctors and medical professionals to be trustworthy with pharmacological substances unless we provide them with a university life where drugs and alcohol are taken seriously.  Expecting people to be loosy-goosy on weekends by straight arrows during the week is simply too much to expect of humanity.

We need to start thinking about the culture we are creating in our colleges, because we are already starting to see the effects on our society, and it isn't very good.

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