Letters To The Editor Healing, Caring

Posted: March 07, 1987

I cannot resist commenting on the Feb. 19 article "Penn medical school to

throw out course requirements for admission."

I agree that medical students should pursue a broad undergraduate program. Extra medical courses taken at the undergraduate level only put undue pressure on the student and do not serve a useful purpose as these courses are repeated in medical school.

Medical students must learn that a patient is more than a body to be treated. Successful healing of a person must take into account the role a person's mind plays in the healing process. A patient must be treated as an entity. On the part of the doctor this requires medical knowledge and rapport with the patient.

Keep in mind, empathy and compassion come from within. Mere taking of humanity and social studies will never change a person's outlook. I strongly suggest that a sharp admissions committee weed out the undesirables before they enter medical school.

As a nurse I noticed that many physicians consider patients as items on a conveyor belt. The patient is only a number. The majority of these physicians are undoubtedly excellent technicians but many lack compassion, empathy and rapport with the patient.

I hope that all the other medical schools follow the University of Pennsylvania's lead.

Teresa V. Coughlan

Gwynedd Valley.

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