I've had the opportunity to work with foreign medical graduates in the past, but this article really describes the sacrifices they make and the hoops they jump through in order to practice medicine in the Western world.
[Foreign medical graduates] must not only relearn the theory, which many of them first studied decades ago, but also master the social and behavioral nuances of being a doctor in the West. Some must do so while supporting themselves by driving taxis or picking fruit; others rely on meager personal savings or small government handouts. They are driven by the dream of becoming doctors again, but the reality can be a nightmare.
I need reminders like this so that I remember how lucky I am to do my crazy job everyday. I've heard about publication bias, but this article really lays the numbers out there.
Among 74 FDA-registered studies, 31%, accounting for 3449 study participants, were not published ... Studies viewed by the FDA as having negative or questionable results were, with 3 exceptions, either not published (22 studies) or published in a way that, in our opinion, conveyed a positive outcome (11 studies). According to the published literature, it appeared that 94% of the trials conducted were positive. By contrast, the FDA analysis showed that 51% were positive.
I haven't had an ethics course since I was a first-year medical student, but there are still many unanswered questions. When I read this case about cell lines derived from a patient's splenectomy specimen, I couldn't believe that the law wasn't more clear.
Under ancient Roman law, when agricultural crops were in the ground, they were owned by the landowner, but picked fruits and vegetables were owned by the farmer who worked the land. Trees taken from the land, however, belonged to the landowner. Is a removed spleen more like an ear of corn or an oak tree? ... Since the cells in human tissue are living and reproduce, perhaps they are more analogous to farm animals than to fruits or vegetables. The progeny of animals are the property of the mother's other. Is the cell line equivalent to [the patient's] "progeny"? Similar, an owner wrongfully deprived of livestock is owed the value of the eggs from converted chickens and milk from converted cows. Are [the patient's] immortal cells like chickens, and the protein products derived from them like eggs? The need to resort to cases that involve the ownership of corn, trees, cows, and eggs demonstrates the need to create modern rules that deal directly with the ownership and use of human tissue.
I remember in my medical school application essay I stated I wanted to enter medicine due the ever-change challenges the field encountered requiring a lifetime dedicated to learning. Boy, I don't think I knew what I was getting myself into!