Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What a hard question - can murderers and rapists be good doctors?

From the NYTimes. I am really, really amazed that some people actually had to think this one over. Also I was amused by the headline - "A Quandary in Sweden: Criminals in Med School". I got the initial impression they were worried about street level drug dealers or something of that ilk, but these cases are just a bit more severe.

A year ago, Sweden’s most prestigious medical school found itself in an international uproar after it unknowingly admitted a student who was a Nazi sympathizer and a convicted murderer, then scrambled to find a way to expel him.

It is hard to imagine how the case could get any more bizarre. But it has.

The 33-year-old student, Karl Helge Hampus Svensson, having been banished from the medical school of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on the ground that he falsified his high school records, has now been admitted to a second well-known medical school — Uppsala, Sweden’s oldest university.
It goes on:

And in still another case, a 24-year-old medical student at Lund University was convicted last April of raping a 14-year-old boy while he slept. A district court sentenced the student to two years in prison, but a higher court reduced the sentence to two years’ probation and medical therapy.

When the dean at Lund sought to expel the student, a national board that reviews expulsions blocked the action, saying that although the man had committed a serious crime, he was not considered a threat to people or property. The decision was then reversed by an administrative court, which upheld the expulsion; the student did not appeal.

Hmm...2 years probation for raping a 14-year-old boy. And a guy who's already raped "isn't a threat to people or property". Seems reasonable to me! Don't we have courts in this country which state similar nonsense?
The lowest point, though, is when they interview some of the other med students:

But another Uppsala student, Karl-Wilhelm Olsson, 23, said that “the important factor is whether a person is a risk to another human being, and it’s hard to draw a line.”

He added that while there is no law requiring a university to bar prospective students because of a criminal past, “a student should be expelled if he or she is viewed as unfit.”

But Gustav Stalhammar, 25, said Mr. Svensson should be allowed to become a doctor. “Who is to say that he might not become a great doctor, even if it in some ways would feel wrong or awkward to have a murderer for a colleague?” he asked. “It is not fair to have preconceptions about his character.”

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