Saturday, March 28

Criminal Doctors

In a recent New York Times article, Uppsala University in Sweden has admitted a convicted murderer and Nazi advocate to their medical school. He had been previously admitted to a different Swedish medical school before getting kicked out for falsifying documents. The United States is classically strict on its medical school applicants, not allowing anyone entry with a felony conviction. A recent change in policy now requires all misdemeanor offenses to be reported on medical school applications. When the primary clause of an occupation is “do no harm”, how could any medical school knowingly grant entry to a convicted murderer? As the article implied, this is likely a huge oversight.
This raises some very difficult questions about the admissions process. How deep do they dig when researching the background of an applicant? This could be an extreme case but it makes you think about the potential for other felon physicians practicing elsewhere. Exceptions to the felony rule could probably be made under certain circumstances. For instance, it’s a felony to be convicted of selling marijuana which would render an applicant incapable of becoming a physician, but should it? It could be argued to accept applicants on a case by case basis, but that still seems inadequate. I don’t see a problem with condemning an applicant for committing murder while being associated with neo-Nazi hate groups. It should not even be a question!


  1. Wow, this seems like a huge oversight by the admissions committee. I can't imagine any rationale of actually admitting a convicted murderer into a medical school. It definitely makes you question the entire admissions process.

  2. I actually read the same article and had some similar questions as you Graham, especially in respect to the importance of "do not harm."

    One thing that struck me from the article was the statement: "The cases resonate far beyond Sweden, raising fundamental questions about who is fit to become a doctor."

    How is it that medical schools determine who is a good candidate? How, as a society, do we portray who makes a good doctor? Why do people become doctors? These questions, along with many others, are important to ask.

    If you think about, most people have a relative, a family friend, or a friend applying or in medical school. Do you know why they became a doctor? or why they are wanting to be a doctor?

  3. At first it seems strikingly apparent that according to this article there was a gross oversight in the admission of a convicted murder to that Swedish medical school. It's obvious that the Hippocratic oath and the past trends of this individual's life don't mesh. However, it does bring up an interesting point about the nature of our perceptions towards the judicious system. To me when an individual goes to prison and is released it is done under the pretense that that person has served their time and has repented (to a degree) for their past wrongdoings. Is it right for all of society to continually condemn them for a single mistake in the past, especially in instances when said individuals genuinely want to make up for it and help people?

    In this case it's very apparent that this individual is probably not as reformed as we could hope. However, as you said "A recent change in policy now requires all misdemeanor offenses to be reported on medical school applications." Could such drastic measures actually filter out all the possible wrongdoings that a medical official could commit while still being able to provide society with a good supply of our ever-growing need for capable physicians? Could such a measure lead to an elitist view towards medical school applicants where only the persons with pure backgrounds be admitted? A trend like that would only serve to further hinder the medical profession in my opinion. Situations, are never so black and white as this, and nobody is perfect, but as Graham said evaluating applicants on a case by case basis may be inefficient but at least its fair.


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