Teaching Medical Ethics: Is It a Waste of Time?
Loewy, Erich H.
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 1994 Spring; 3(2): 296-299.
The paper by Dr. Myles Sheehan "Why Doctors Hate Medical Ethics" (which would, I think, perhaps have been better entitled "Why Doctors in Training Hate Medical Ethics") highlights some of the problems of teaching ethics to an extremely weary group of house officers who may look at ethics as a waste of time, as a requirement that must be overcome, or as "a lot of crap." Although Dr. Sheehan's paper offers a number of interesting and valuable insights, it really fails to say why residents hate the teaching of medical ethics any more than they may hate any other conference which, inevitably, intrudes on their time. In this response, I do not so much want to take issue with Sheehan's paper as to comment and to offer some of my own experiences teaching ethics. To do so, I am fully aware, may be regarded as matching anecdote with anecdote, a tiresome and ultimately futile process.