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Medical School Rite Puts Priority on Compassion

September 04, 1998|LESLEY WRIGHT

They'll be up against complex course work, high-tech machinery and study hours that would bury many.

But the administrators of UCI's College of Medicine also want the 92 doctors-to-be in the Class of 2002 to remember that compassion is a prime ingredient in medical practice.

Hence the "White Coat Ceremony" held Thursday before hundreds of friends and family members, which wrapped up several days of orientation for the new medical students.

"We want doctors to be more than technicians," said Andrew Porterfield, spokesman for the college.

"The way modern medicine has evolved over the last several decades has resulted in a very high-tech field. We want people who can master the technology but, at the same time, we want them to be educated with compassion for the sick."

In the ceremony, students were presented with their first white doctor's coats, symbolizing empathy.

They also recited the Oath for Doctors of Medicine, a modern version of the Hippocratic Oath.

"I desire that my empathy will never be subservient to skill and knowledge," the oath states in part. "I see my ability to be a good physician as a gift to be shared with humanity."

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