this makes me sick. literally. i feel sick to the stomach right now, especially at the thought of patients who may have potentially suffered unnecessary pain and endured longer healing time because of one man’s dishonesty.
i know that fabrication of data in research is nothing new (remember hwang woo-suk, the south korean scientist who was embroiled in a scandal involving his stem cell research?) but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable or any less despicable.
this is probably the main reason why my lecturers keep stressing time and again that it’s better to admit that we’re wrong and risk a scolding than to confabulate the information obtained during clerking. if we start lying so early even in the stage of just playing doctor/researcher, what’s stopping us from lying later on in our careers when our opinions and findings could actually change the way medicine is practiced?
i’m not sure if everyone understands that the implication of producing fraudulent work doesn’t end at a bad grade or a meeting with the dean. it can end in the deaths of patients who are entrusted into our care. it can set medical progress back 10, 20 years.
would you be able to forgive yourself for that? i don’t think i’d be able to.