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Med Teach. 2003 Sep;25(5):497-501.

A report on student abuse during medical training.

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Pediatrics Department, School of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.


The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence, and the consequences, of abusive situations as perceived by students during the course of their medical training. A descriptive study was carried out surveying the entire 2000 fifth-year class of 181 in the Medical School of the University of Chile. The questionnaire was answered by 144 students. Results showed that 91.7% of the students who responded had suffered at least one episode of abuse while enrolled in medical school. The main offenders were teachers and peers. Verbal abuse was the most common (85.4%), followed by psychological (79.9%), sexual(26.4%) and physical (23.6%) abuse. Students reported that abuse had effects on their mental health, social life and the image they had of physicians; 17% considered dropping out of school as a consequence of this experience. Efforts should be addressed to prompt educators to reflect on their role.

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