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Australian Medical Students Lack Anatomy Knowledge

The significant reduction in the teaching hours for medical subjects such as anatomy in Australian medical schools has resulted in a pathetic state where medical students are unable to locate vital body parts//. In some instances, they end up confusing one organ with another. In addition to the subject of anatomy, there has been a considerable reduction in the teaching hours for biochemistry, pathology, physiology and other basic sciences.

Some medical students even find it difficult to locate the prostate gland or describe a healthy liver. A medical student is said to have identified a part of the heart during a liver operation to be the patients liver.

In view of the above situation, the senior medical professionals have appealed to the federal Government to improve the standard of medical teaching in medical schools. They further pointed out to the impact of this situation on public safety. A 70 page submission has been forwarded to the federal Department of Education, Science and Training, urging reconsideration on the existing standards of medical education.

The vast expanding medical knowledge and the increasing focus on subjects such as genetics and new drugs pose additional constraints. In order to accommodate such new topics into the academic stream, old topics are being compromised.

‘We will be turning out Dr Deaths out of our own medical schools. They (doctors) won't be competent to manage patients ... it's just appalling. Its part of the new educational dictums - 'don't put any stress on them (students) ... it doesn't matter if they don't know anything', ‘commented Dr. Barry Oakes, a former anatomy teacher at Monash University.

‘I think probably the old curriculum had too much emphasis on anatomy, but the new course has probably swung a little bit too far in the other direction. If you are assessing (a patient) who has had a stroke, if you do not have a good knowledge of the different parts of the brain,
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