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Cambridge University Press




Movie critic David Denby has asserted that American theatergoers are a "professional avant-garde audience" who "cannot be shocked by what others would find unintelligible... [and] have lost the capacity for outrage."' This analysis of American theater can be aptly applied to clinical medical education.

I assume almost every nonmedical professional reading "Death at a New York Hospital" will be horrified and outraged at the "treatment" Ms. Hewitt was subjected to in the hospital. Many physicians will too; but it is likely that more will be as understanding of the actions of the intern and residents as was Dr. A, the senior staff member who explained to Prof. Schucking that these doctors in training who ignored Ms. Hewitt's wishes were simply "erring on the side of life." Why wasn't Dr. A as outraged as we are, and what did Drs. X (the intern), Y (the first-year resident), and Z (the senior resident) learn from their experience with Dr. A, Ms. Hewitt, and Prof. Schucking? This is not a story about emergency medical care; it is a parable of clinical education.

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