forget failure of the healthcare system, what about failure of the medical school admissions system?

Thankfully, all of the hoopla over Michael Moore’s SiCKO has finally died down. Almost. I’m probably the only person in the healthcare field who has not seen his movie. Not because I don’t believe that our current healthcare system is full of flaws, but because I frankly don’t like the guy and his methods. It’s just plain sad that it took his brand of over-the-top sensationalism to wake America up to our healthcare woes.

Let’s wave our magic wand and give everybody free universal healthcare without having to tax doctors or anyone else to come up with the funding. No long waits to see specialists or for imaging or procedures and everyone will get state-of-the-art treatment for all that ails them. Everyone will have access to care. Magic, I say! Then everything will be perfect, right?

Not when we have second- or third-rate doctors providing said universal healthcare. Forget fixing the healthcare system. We can try to fix it all we want, but as long as we allow people who are not cut out to be doctors to become doctors, we’re still screwed. Forget sleazy insurance companies and their shady cost-cutting practices. Welcome to the world of sleazy underhanded medical school admissions practices! During the next year, instead of wallowing away being completely ignored in my lab, I will infiltrate my med school’s admissions committee with my handy secret hidden camera and make a shockumentary on the atrocities that go on behind closed doors. And it will be called WaCKO.

Just think of the wealth of seedy information I could have recorded over the years. My major professor is a mere PhD and I still have yet to understand why he holds so much sway over our admissions committee, but he managed to skirt the so-called stringent admissions process countless times. The first that I witnessed was, oh, seven or so years ago when he got one of my labmates who really didn’t know why he wanted to go into medicine in. Then there was the fiancee of some guy who he took a liking to. Then I went MIA for awhile while he pulled God-knows-what. When I returned, he was trying to get some girl in who had applied three or four times prior and never gotten so much as an interview. Through his machinations, he got her an interview at my med school. Which she apparently screwed up. I would know because I read her file. This chick must have done him special favors (*wink wink nudge nudge*) while they were holed up in his office all those times she came over for “advice” because he managed to get her re-interviewed claiming some sort of discrimination or other “unfairness.” Which, of course, doesn’t make sense since both of her interviewers agreed that she sucked. She was re-interviewed but still not accepted and I retained what little faith I had left in our admissions system. Then there were his many requests that he only be given “pretty girls” to interview. Oh, and he got my arch nemesis (with a 3.0 GPA no less and rich parents, of course) into one of the top medical schools even though she’s a stuck-up bitch who wouldn’t know compassion or modesty if they were to hit her in the head. And finally, we have daughter-of-his-primary-care-physician as his crowning underhanded achievement. He pushed and he pushed, even resorting to bullying her medical student interviewer, and got her on the waitlist. I didn’t think he could actually get her in. But he did. He got her in when she herself confessed that the reason why she wants to be a doctor is that she is her dad’s last hope for a kid who follows in his footsteps. She’ll make a perfect doctor for our magical universal health care system now, won’t she?

I was taught long ago that “the cream always floats to the top,” but I’m finding it next to impossible to believe in that now. It’s not about how good you are, but who you know. It doesn’t matter if you suck or if you like to steal dead people’s body parts to give to people, you’ll get to become one of our nation’s fine physicians if you know the right, corrupt people. I fully understand and support having someone become your mentor because you’re the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread and I’ve been lucky enough to have such people take me under their wing because I truly showed potential instead of the potential to pad their pocketbooks or egos. I’m thankful that these people saw beyond the fluff and gave the underdog without rich parents or connections a chance. They gave me hope that hard work and being a good person pays off. But guess what. That was a good ten years ago. The further I travel in my career, the more corruption I see, ala my major professor. And it only gets worse. Because I know that my major professor isn’t the only corrupt one out there. I’m sure there are plenty of corrupt people who are in even higher positions out there just waiting to accept their family friend/neighbor/random-person-they-don’t-even-know over someone who’s really qualified.

So go ahead and reform the healthcare system. Establish universal healthcare or whatever magical salve you think we need. It’ll mean nothing when the people at the frontlines administering this cure are incompetent fools who don’t even know why they’re there and who really shouldn’t even be there.

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The patient is a 20-something-year-old MD/PhD student with a history of extensive schooling now presenting with frustration at her current lack of progress consistent with being stuck in a rut.



Sadness.  Mr. Wizard, who taught me that you can’t eat more than three or so pretzels because the salt on them dries out your mouth making it hard for you to swallow and inspired me to pursue science as a career died recently. :(


Darth Vader had borderline personality disorder.  If only he had gotten psychotherapy.


Rumor is that they’re planning to get rid of the Hummer H2 because of slow sales.  Now if only they would get rid of all Hummers.  And SUVs and big trucks.


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