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Tuesday, June 14th 2011

Paying Medical Students For ‘Clinical’ Services

There’s a minor scandal being carried on at the major teaching hospital of UT Southwestern’s medical school and the public hospital for Dallas, Parkland. The Dallas Morning News is reporting that up to recently UT Southwestern was paying medical students to work in the psychiatric emergency room at Parkland during their off time.

What exactly they were being paid to do is in some dispute according to the article but there’s major contention over paying medical students for any sort of clinical care. If they were interacting with students, documenting clinical care in notes or essentially doing anything but delivery food trays to them, there is likely a serious problem with paying medical students, who are not yet clinicians, for any sort of patient interaction. And so there is minor drama.

I don’t know the truth about what medical students were doing, but I will agree wholeheartedly that the way medical education is organized now in the United States, there is something unethical about paying physicians to play clinicians.