Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Lessons for doctors from Jewish philosophy

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 02 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:311

Rapid Response:

Re: Don't despair

Dear Dr. Cave,

Thank you for responding to my article. In my view, the question is
not whether knowledge is important for doctors. The question is whether
basic science is all the knowledge that doctors need in order to
adequately treat their patients. I am now in my third year of medical
training. Although I am often able to look up my patients' medical
conditions and formulate treatment plans, I frequently find myself ill
prepared for the significant emotional and ethical challenges I face, such
as decisions about artificial nutrition and hydration, assessing
competency, and with-holding life sustaining treatment. Medicine means
more than caring people practicing basic science. As such, students
require a broad base of knowledge, including not only basic science, but,
also, knowledge of ethical decision making, the social determinants of
health and the cultural aspects of illness. It is the responsibility of
medical education to promote the acquisition of these diverse forms of

Naomi Lear

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 February 2006
Naomi D. Lear
Medical Student
Faculty of Medicine, McGill University