As medical students, we come into contact with an enormous assortment of patients who vary in every respect—for example, age, size, colour, intellect, and personality. People we may never come into contact with in our personal lives present to health services every day expecting unbiased and unprejudiced treatment.
How do we deal with such diversity? We have to adjust our clinical interaction between patients—people are different. But do we approach patients according to our own social standards and stereotypical constraints? Putting a label on someone before getting to the root of the clinical problem is all too easy.
Imagine the scene. A young man comes to the emergency department on a Friday night, comatosed and smelling of booze. We instantly label him as a lad who has had a few too many out on the town, but for all we know something utterly random could have happened—he could have just