Wokeness is injuring patients and resulting in unqualified doctors who commit malpractice

Wokeness is injuring patients and resulting in unqualified doctors who commit malpractice

Thanks to woke ideology in medical schools, many “physicians” are now “afraid of giving feedback to low-performing residents lest they be accused of bias. It’s a direct threat to residents’ future success as physicians — and more important, the well-being of their patients,” notes the former associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, Stanley Goldfarb:

The harmful consequences are already playing out. An attending physician at a top medical school told us about a resident who left a tourniquet on a patient for too long, causing an above-the-knee amputation — yet the resident received no negative feedback. In another instance, an attending physician believed that a resident came to work in the emergency room while under the influence of drugs, yet after raising the issue, the physician backed down following accusations of racism. Another resident who did not know how to set a broken bone responded with physical threats to an attending physician who tried to step in and help, and the resident received no punishment in return.

An attending physician at a prominent institution recently told my organization [Do No Harm] that residents now have the power — and they’re not afraid to use it against the physicians who are supposed to be their supervisors. Physicians rightly worry that administrators will take the residents’ side in a dispute: What they know to be a necessary corrective action, the medical diversity-industrial complex could easily see as grounds for termination. So the physicians often stay silent, except with the most egregious mistakes.

Goldfarb can talk about his disturbing reality without reprisals, only because he left his position as associate dean, and retired from academic medicine, after which he created an organization that fights for patients, against identity politics.

Goldfarb notes that woke ideology is sabotaging medical education in critically important ways: “First, admissions and testing standards are being lowered in the name of diversity and equity. Second, victimization culture is making it harder to give low-performing and unqualified residents the feedback they need to avoid endangering patients.”

Activists in medical schools have successfully prodded school officials to jettison testing standards, claiming that testing is racist. At least 40 medical schools have acceded to this pressure, dropping MCAT requirements mainly for races deemed “underrepresented in medicine.” Never mind that studies confirm that lower MCAT scores predict worse performance in medical school, a higher probability of dropping out, and a lower chance of grasping the basic concepts and skills that matter for patient care.

As Goldfarb notes, “The lowering of standards on the front end of medical school is now matched by less grading at the back end. This year, the United States Medical Licensing Exam’s first section, which residency programs have typically relied on to select candidates, has replaced objective grades with a pass/fail system. The medical-school deans who approved this seismic shift away from merit explicitly did so to allow more minority students to qualify for competitive residency programs.”

Residencies now have more blacks and Hispanics, but residents are on average less well prepared. As Goldfarb notes, “Studies show that residents of certain races and ethnicities, on average, score worse on clinical-performance assessments….Yet these findings have sparked more calls for lowering standards and eliminating measures that demonstrate competence.”

Basic measures of competence are not attacked as racism. Goldfarb cites a study published in the prominent journal Academic Medicine two months ago. It claimed that lower scores by minority residents on measures of professionalism, knowledge, and readiness to practice on their own could only have three causes: bias from supervising physicians, a worse training environment, or racist testing. Yet, as Goldfarb observes,

At no point did the study authors consider a more obvious conclusion: that lower scores reflect genuinely weaker performance, an unsurprising result of years of lowering standards. Pointing out the obvious is an unforgivable sin in the activist-dominated world of academic medicine. When I tweeted about the study, I was accused of being a racist, and the chair of the Department of Medicine at my former employer — a friend of many years — sent a department-wide email denouncing my “racist statements.”

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for CNSNews.com and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at hfb138@yahoo.com


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