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    « From Medical School to Middle Age | Main | Bringing Out the Mother in All of Us »



    I think you're ordinary person can probably get habituated to brutality...very scary thought...

    I wrote a blog about the cruelty (in comparison to what you describe, it was mild!) that I experienced in residency and how I thought it could sometimes change you as a human being...if you get a chance, I'd love if you checked it out:


    Dear Dr. Chen,

    I discovered this column and blog after hearing you speak at my university. I've subscribed, and I hope to read your posts regularly. Your writing speaks to me, so I am appreciative of these opportunities.

    As I read your column, I was reminded of my own habituation as a first year medical student learning how to dissect a cadaver this semester. This experience no longer seems gruesome to me, yet I struggle to speak with curious friends and family members when they ask about the experience. I have always considered myself a nonviolent person, and I realize for the first time there is some type of violence involved in being a good physician. This type of aggression is quite different from torture because of the sustained trust involved, but it is still difficult to reconcile for a young doctor-in-training.

    Pauline Chen

    Dear Kirti,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I especially liked the last line: "Hopefully, you leave a more compassionate human being--one that even has compassion for those who have caused you pain."

    Thanks for writing and sending me the link!


    Dr. Chen,

    Thanks so much for reading my blog! Your feedback means a lot to me. I will be glowing all day from this! (I'm going to twitter about this right now! haha)

    Thank you,



    Your column has generated a lot of reflection and discussion! Thank you!

    (See here:

    Pauline Chen

    Interesting post and blog! Thank you for sending the link.

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