Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews No Holds Barred

Margaret McCartney: Forever indebted to pharma—doctors must take control of our own education

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 13 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1965

My Doctor's Bag

Like all medical school graduates, I received a free monogrammed doctor's bag from the pharmaceutical industry. In time, my bag wore out, and I gave it to my father to hold his tools.

As a machinist, carpenter, and home gardener, my father made good use of my bag; and sometimes he pretended that he was a doctor making house calls.

Although my father never went to college and didn’t understand medicine, he did understand that our body is a machine that needs nutritious, homegrown fruits and vegetables.

It took me many years of study and practice to understand what my father intuitively understood. I wish that my medical education had courses from practical-minded, plain-spoken, earthy people like my father.

Let's learn to appreciate our blue-collar brethren, because they have much to offer those of us with more knowledge than common sense.

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 April 2015
Hugh Mann
New York, USA