Role of Death in Training Doctors
According to a Kashmiri proverb, “until a physician has killed one or two he is not a physician.” At first, it seems kind of harsh to consider the aforementioned statement as even remote truth, but if you think about it, most professions can abide by something similar.
Whether you’re a student in law, medicine, business, etc., the bulk of your education isn’t in the classrooms. It’s in actually applying the knowledge you’ve learned in the real world. Though I can’t speak for current physicians, I’d like to imagine that the majority of their “training” actually occurred in their residency programs where they were thrown into a hectic hospital setting having to deal with tremendous loads of patients with minimal training.
In becoming a doctor, dealing with a death at your own doing seems like one of the most important things that one cannot realistically prepare to deal with 100%; however, at the same time, it’s something which most physicians will unfortunately experience at some point in their careers. Now the question is (according to the proverb), does killing someone define the physician or append to his growing knowledge of his profession?
I’m leaning more towards the latter. It’s true that based on our specialities, some medical students will be responsible for a death earlier in their careers than their peers; however, this doesn’t make another individual less of a doctor. He or she simply has good fortune, sound judgment, and perhaps more low-risk procedures to deal with. There are countless variables which play into assessing the risks and outcome of any given treatment, so it’s not fair to say that one becomes physician only after a tragedy.