Saturday, December 12, 2015

Medical students "represented supervising physicians as fiendish, foulmouthed monsters; and depicted themselves as sleep-deprived zombies walking through barren postapocalyptic landscapes."

Ah yes, the memories this article brought back. Sadly, we were never given the opportunity to portray our attendings as fiendish monsters, sadistic Abu Ghraib-like torturers, or serial killers in clown costumes. But that doesn't mean we can't take pleasure in the work of these medical students at Penn State, who were taking an elective called "Comics in Medicine."

In every case in which students depicted physicians as monsters, they represented themselves as victims of mistreatment. In one comic, a student showed an attending physician (depicted as a devil with horns and tail) verbally berating and then decapitating him (Figure, A). Similarly, another student depicted his supervising physician screaming at the medical team, causing one intern to urinate herself moments before having her head bitten off for possessing too little information about a patient (Figure, B). Another student pondered the seriousness of a flippant death threat issued by an attending physician and showed himself enduring withering castigations. Surgeons in particular were singled out for horrific behavior, appearing as devils, demons, and even land sharks presiding over their dark confines with aggression and violence.

The original JAMA article is behind a paywall, but you can read a summary here.

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