As sexual scandal swirled around prelates, politicians, pop stars, and even school pupils, I read an article in Medical Education about students’ most memorable professional dilemmas.1 Most, depressingly, involved witnessing unprofessional and callous behaviour by their clinician teachers. Some involved being bullied; others involved undertaking intimate examinations without valid consent; but one in particular resonated with me.
During a ward round, a young male consultant spotted a female student and said: “You there—the decoration. Why did you ever come to medical school? Do you have a brain in that pretty head? What you need to do is put down that Heat magazine, climb out of bed with your boyfriend, and do some work.”
I had hoped that such experiences were a thing of the past. As a student I remember a macho surgeon who took a particular delight in humiliating female medical students. One ward round, smirking, he asked me to examine a male patient who was due to have an operation. The man was asked to undress completely. With obvious reluctance, …