Notes on Under the Ether Dome by Stephen A. Hoffmann,M. D. discussion

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General consensus about the text

  • Quality of being unsure. Author has not made a stance for his statements. He hops on many things, for instance, humour, philosophy and etc.
  • Is the author actually telling the truth or just creating a myth for the sake of having reader’s to enjoy a good read? There is no concrete proof.
  • The text lacks brutal truth. The author seems to have twisting contradictions. It is more of a good read rather than a memoir.

First issue: Is the use of donor bodies dignified in medical school?

  • Not really dignified as it is for learning purpose since all of us are novices. Some of us may feel that it’s just flesh and bones. Some have a growing sense of guilt for ruining the donor’s bodies. It all comes down to individual. It is up to us to make the best out of the donor bodies
  • All of us accepted the fact that dissection became more of normality as the weeks progressed.

Second issue: The relationship hierarchy between medical students, residents and consultants. Intimidating consultants etc. feature in both fiction and non-fiction literature and film. Why does this relationship exist, are there are any pros or cons to it?

  • It is a norm to see all types of people with different personalities in the hospital.
  • The consultants might have the urge to put the fresh graduates in their places as some may feel cocky/arrogant in the beginning.
  • Why the hierarchy? We’re humans after all. Being under pressure from the system, patients, and personal life. The hospital is an uncomfortable environment for learning purpose. Hence, the attitude is rationalised.
  • However, there is a line between humiliation and instructions. Everyone has the right for respect.

Third issue: What makes the career so appealing despite frequent stories of people being unhappy and frustrated within the profession, strikes etc.

  • There are always a few exceptions of doctors who do not fall into the hierarchy. These are the ones who inspire the rest to follow their footsteps.



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