Who is the doctor in this House? Analyzing the moral evaluations of medical students and physicians of House, M.D.
SourceAjob Empirical Bioethics, 5, 4, (2015), pp. 61-74
Article / Letter to editor
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Ajob Empirical Bioethics
SubjectCommunication and Media
Background: Research shows that medical students like to watch the morally ambiguous medical drama House, M.D., but there is some concern about how the unethical behavior of the main character might eventually affect their professional behavior. The aim of the current study is to provide insight into medical students’ and physicians’ (varying) moral evaluations of characters’ actions and motives in the episode “Informed Consent” (3×03) to inform the discussion over the proposed merit of medical dramas as a tool in medical ethics education. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted that included in-depth semistructured interviews (N = 51) among a diverse sample of medical students at various stages of their degree program and physicians from different specialties. Results: The results demonstrate a difference in moral evaluations of the episode of House, M.D. according to the degree of professional (theoretical and practical) experience, with more experienced physicians evincing a more nuanced view of the profession and professional ethics. Conclusions: House, M.D. is a potentially effective method of discussing or broaching bioethical dilemmas with students or physicians. However, to fully reach its potential as a tool in teaching medical ethics, we recommend that it be incorporated later in the curriculum after students have had some experience in the field (as interns).
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