…about your opening story as a med student (since it was an experience I hadn't seen shared before). Could a med student refuse to participate in performing a circumcision if they believed it was not medically necessary and/or an ethical violation of the infant's autonomy? I know that if it were me, I would feel extreme guilt and moral compromise if I was forced to perfo…
It's been a very long time since I was in medical school!
It was a different era. My experience was the functioned in those days rather like robots. We did pretty much as we were told, at least in my experience.
It is my perception, although I have no facts to support it, that med ed began to change when more women were admitted to medical schools. I think the training became a bit more humane.
Because women in training needed some accommodation because of pregnancy and birth, men began to see themselves as being able to also ask for accommodation. For example, residents began to demand and receive some reduction in the number of working hours.
I suspect that there were also regional differences. I trained in Nebraska, a very conservative state. I think when I moved to the Northeast I began to see that students and residents were more demanding. I don't know if it was a matter of timing, change, or liberal v. conservative attitudes.
By the time I was in my residency following my four years in the Navy, it during a time with their was civil unrest related to Viet Nam and Civil Rights. I think those created a bit a cultural shift away from obedience.
I am also not a person who enjoys conflict. I was a good boy, never really questioned authority. How much was me and how much was culture are hard to separate.