cover image Becoming a Doctor: 2a Journey of Initiation in Medical School

Becoming a Doctor: 2a Journey of Initiation in Medical School

Melvin J. Konner. Viking Books, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-670-80554-9

In an arresting and candid commentary on the medical profession, Konner, a maverick, nonpracticing member and chairman of Emory University's department of anthropology, recounts his medical school training, especially the crucial first clinical immersion during the third year. The then 35-year-old medical studentwho was also a husband and father, anthropologist and educatornoted that medical schools are hard-pressed to include in their curricula the many recent technological and medical advances; that they emphasize memorization, routine and conformity over independent judgment. Konner further charges that doctors treat symptoms, ignoring preventive measures and behavioral modification. In his impassioned criticism of how doctors are trained, he nonetheless notes, ""If I had it to do over again, I suppose I would still do it''; yet, ``I would not want my daughter or son to be a doctor or to marry one.'' Konner remains decidedly unoptimistic that the healing profession will be altered radically despite recent reappraisals, concluding with dispirit, ``plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose.'' 20,000 first printing. (August 4)