View Full Version : Any Stories?
I have been trying to compile a list of cases where applicants have been caught for lying 'after' getting into a program (law, dentistry, medicine etc..). This is to hopefully prevent readers (premeds) from seeing the consequences of such actions. I have already compiled numerous instances of 'lies' found during the interview. But are there ones that were found after admission to med school and what were the subsequent consequences for such students.
Any info would be grateful
07-21-2001, 03:57 PM
I know that after my admission into U of C, a post-card was sent to each of my references. It basically said that "X person was granted admission to the medical program, and we appreciate you taking the time to provide a letter of reference." It goes on to say: "if you do not recall writing this letter of reference, please contact the admissions office immediately" Obviously sent to references to bust anyone providing false letters. I would not be surprised if people have been caught in the past for such a thing.
Do other schools do similar things that anyone knows of?
07-24-2001, 12:46 PM
I don't have any stories, but I know app falsification is grounds for expulsion at U of T (I think UBC states it somewhere on their app too). I expect that most if not all schools have you sign a statement on your application saying that the all information you provided them is correct and up-to-date to the best of your ability etc. etc.
07-24-2001, 05:11 PM
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Having initiated this thread, I would like to put some kind of closure to this thread. People here seem to be just giving examples of people lying. The problem with this is that it encourages people to lie in the future, as they feel no one will be caught.
So please kindly take off or edit your post (by not giving specific examples) because it will defeat the purpose of encouraging an honest and trustful society.
As a last piece of advice however, let me add that I have asked similar questions to adcom people and other sites, and let me warn you that people HAVE been caught. Not only that, I personally know of someone who committed fraud on his application and was CAUGHT 15 years into his practice. Today, he is debarred from practicing medicine. Believe me it is NOT worth the risk, as the last thing you want after studying so long, is to lose your licence to work forever.
you are a sad, pathetic loser. you should have turned the other guy in. not doing so makes you just as guilty as him. what a joke you are.
07-25-2001, 10:38 AM
If you want to continue the discussion, e-mail me.
funny how you erased that message strider2004. just so everyone knows, strider2004 said that they knew someone who lied to get into medical school. why should i email you strider? let's talk about this here.
what does everyone else think?
let's suppose that this doctor who lied killed someone because of incompetence. then, let's say that the family of that person who died decided to sue the doctor. then, let's say that you knew that the doctor was a liar and shouldn't even be a doctor in the first place and you knew about it. you should, and will, be liable as well if anyone finds out. that accident and everything else that this liar doctor did is on your head.
perhaps this person is your friend, it doesn't matter. you realize that i could find out who you are and then report you as well. it wouldn't be that hard and my statements would not be taken lightly, let me assure you. I think that you realized this yourself and confirmed it by taking off your original post.
nonetheless, it's sad that someone like you and your friend will be doctors. you are guilty. i hope that this discussion will make you think about your actions. grow up and take responsibility. not just for yourself but for our society. defend your actions if you can.
07-25-2001, 01:27 PM
This is a toughie, and I can see your point and how you may feel about someone gaining access to medical education on less than honest grounds. One simple and seemingly trivial thing that I've learned that I'd like to share which may be of help here, is that it can be really tough to precisely define anyone else's experience but your own. You can try to fill in the picture, and many of us do, but there are a litany of surprising and seemingly unimaginable circumstances, events and factors that form our enviroments and actions. As such, it can be really challenging to make easy and sound quick judgements.
This could be the case with strider2004. He/she, over the course of reading his/her posts this past while strikes me as being a decent person. However, less than decent things can happen to even the most decent of people. For example, what if he/she was minding their own business and then happened upon the information about their acquaintance without seeking it? Perhaps he/she has been feeling burdened with this knowledge for the past while, and has not known what to do about it? What if they ARE actually doing something about it (we, at this point, don't know). In short, there are a large collection of unknowns surrounding this case and I'm sure strider2004 is dealing with it the best way they see fit at this point in time.
This sort of dilemma (being privy to not-so-fun information) seems to be a recurring point in medicine. Indeed, questions addressing these dilemmas sometimes rear their heads during medical school interviews.
While it is good that you resolve your stress surrounding this situation, why don't you take the particulars of the discussion off-line? You both may learn some interesting points of view that you can put to good use in the future. In the interim, and on a more general basis, why don't we begin a discussion (or a separate discussion area) regarding this sort of knowledge dilemma and other medical ethics problems? What exactly should we do when faced with sticky situations? What are the legal ramifications, if any, if we were to possess the knowledge that one of our colleagues had falsified data or cheated on a medical school test? Most of us have had limited experience with these sorts of issues, so it may be something that everyone would like to hear more about, including myself.
Let's keep coming here to lend support and learn with open minds.
07-25-2001, 03:42 PM
I think you're taking this a little too far. I don't think strider would be held liable if that med student goes on to accidentally kill someone. I think that if that med student would go on to be an "incompetent" doctor, then s/he never would have been admitted to med school to begin with.
I find it disgusting that someone would lie like that and get into med school, but I don't think you should be threatening strider.
07-25-2001, 06:34 PM
The reason that I erased the message was because MED, the original poster, requested that I do so(read his message above). As for the person I know, he is not a friend. His actions on his application come from a 4th party. Not a 3rd party, a 4th party. The reason that I do nothing is because I would be violating the trust of a lot of close people by divulging what I heard in passing.
As for that person killing a patient because of his incompetence, I think not. His incompetence would only be a result of him slipping through the cracks of a 4 year system that is not meant to have any cracks.
I want to thank anon and Kirsteen for defending my character. Joe, you have some hostility towards me even though you do not know me. The only reason I can think of is that you were wronged in a situation similar to what I have presented. For that, I am sorry. Yes, you can easily find out who I am because I have given you my e-mail address as a show of trust. As for getting me kicked out of med school, well it would be difficult if not impossible for you to find a hole in my record.
The reason that I wanted to take this discussion offline was because I probably could have given more personal information to you than I am willing to put on a public forum. But if you want to talk about it here, go ahead.
07-25-2001, 07:43 PM
Uhh.. I finished a law degree in Canada before going to medical school, and would like to clarify the Supreme Court of Canada's general attitude towards Strider's liability for an failing to reveal this information..
To find liability (this would be strictly in tort), the court requires certain things, among which is a duty (of care) that is breached.
Does Strider owe a duty to the hypothetical family/patient who dies? I don't think so. It is a duty far too remote for the courts to find liabilty. There may be a duty in the moral sense, but as I'm sure you all know, there is sometimes a great chasm between legal and moral duty.
E.g. in Canada, unless otherwise legislated (nowhere I know of in Canada - anyone remember Seinfeld's series finale??) if you see some stranger dying on the street, you have no duty to step in and help them. You are quite free to walk away, and no court will find you liable for their death. Although you may owe that person some moral duty..
And there's also an issue of causation (Snell v. Farrell, SCC 1990). Did Strider's failure to reaveal this bit of information cause the death (or whatever). The chain of causation would be way too remote.
In short, it is highly unlikely for Strider to face any liabilty from Canadian courts because of Strider's failure to reveal what he knows of this student.
So don't worry Strider.. But I'm sure you weren't worrying to begin with.
07-25-2001, 09:53 PM
I really would rather not lock this thread, as I think it has the potential to lead into a quality discussion. However, for that, the accusations and implied culpability have to stop. So, if this thread continues to degenerate, be aware that I will lock it, and possibly delete it.
The big rule of this forums is to <!--EZCODE BOLD START--> be nice!<!--EZCODE BOLD END--> You don't have to agree with what everyone else has written, and in fact, I would be disappointed if everyone had the same philosophy and viewpoint on everything. However, if you disagree, you need to do so in a professional manner, and that means a rational discussion.
I think an interesting point has been raised here, and perhaps this is something that should be discussed, at least a little bit. I think each medical school in Canada has its own policy regarding cheating or falsifying application information. The fact that having these policies is a necessity establishes to me that each school has had to deal with cheaters in the past, and want written clarification about getting caught.
Due to the sheer number of medical students, yes, I think any number of them could have cheated. However, what do we really define as being enough to keep someone out of medical school?
Does cheating on a first year midterm worth 15% of an insignificant course warrent an automatic rejection?
What about "getting inspiration", but not actually copying from a buddy's term paper?
What about bumming a formula from your lab partner to make your Organic Chemistry report look finished?
What about blatantly cheating on the MCAT?
What about a previous criminal record for shop-lifting?
What about having a previous conviction for drug use/possession?
There are just so many situations out there, some of which I feel warrant an automatic rejection from medical school, but many others which I don't.
It's interesting to note that each hospital department usually holds something known as M & M rounds (morbidity and mortality) on a regular basis. At these rounds, attending physicians and residents/interns discuss what went wrong with a particular case, and how they would approach the problem the second time.
What this means is that if something goes sour with the patient, the doctors will gather at these rounds to try to figure out what went wrong, so they can avoid making the same mistake with a subsequent patient. So yes, doctors screw up, and they screw up quite a bit. With each screwup, a patient suffers more, or perhaps even dies. As far as I am aware, M & M rounds aren't available for the general public to observe.
Is a doctor who screws up culpable?
You may answer yes, but something you need to understand, and you will once you get deeper into med school, is that there is a great paradox in the medical system. Simply put, the public expects perfect treatment, but doesn't really seem too aware of how doctors get trained. If you think about it, the cardiovascular surgeon who does a heart transplant had to do his first transplant at some point. Sure, he might have received detailed instructions and is being fully supervised, but the reality is that he/she has his hand on the scalpel/cautery, and is the one cutting out that old heart, and suturing in the new one.
The Emerg doctor who does his first reduction of a broken wrist had to do one for the first time. Do you really think he/she got it exactly right on the first attempt? Probably not, and the patient almost certainly suffered more pain and mental anguish than if the attending physician had done it.
How about if a new resident screws up? Does it make a difference that he/she had been working for 25 hours straight, and was so brain-dead from lack of sleep that he/she forgot to test/examine for the one clinical symptom that would have clinched the diagnosis? What about if the resident was so bug-eyed that he/she misread the concentration of a certain medication?
As a result, I've got to side with the others in a way. We simply don't have enough information here to make that type of a judgement. This may sound like a cop-out, but the reality is that the onus is on the medical school to screen out applicants. It isn't my job nor my place to challenge someone else's application. Yes, there are people in my class that I think will make poor doctors, but there simply isn't anything that I will do about it. My responsibility in medical school is to give the best care I can to my patients, and to become the best physician that I can be. It is the medical school's job to teach those other students to be the best that they can be as well.
UBC, Med 3
not rex morgan
07-26-2001, 01:15 AM
I wanted to respond to the comment Kirsteen made about how some people can come across uncomfortable information, and then be burdened with it. While I concede that it is a horrible position to be in, I would like to submit, that sometimes in life, situations are tough. The so-called burdening may explain why someone does not act on the information he or she has happened upon, but if the information is non-trivial, i'm sorry, but it does not excuse the person morally. For example, I once heard screaming coming from a house. This screaming was obviously not kids messing around. My friends and I found the house, and through the curtains, I could see someone soccer kicking a kid. Messy situation, yes, but I wasn't about to wallow in self-pity because I was unfortunate enough to witness it. My friends called the cops while I stood on the front lawn at yelled for the person to stop. Neighbors came out with a thermos of coffee when they heard the police cars arriving, and admitted they heard the screaming and wanted to come out and "see the show." Can you imagine the sick feeling in my stomach.
Knowing that someone lied on an application is not quite comparable, but my point is, that we are mature, professional adults, or at least that's what we all claimed in our med school interviews. As someone who applied, honestly, a few times to med school, I am pretty offended that people are writing their own letters to med school and getting in, and then having people pretty much defend them. It is up to the selection process to weed those obviously immoral people out of the medical profession, but I'm sure we all know the process isn't as air-tight as we would hope. I commend whoever is compiling this list. I think there should be more of these compilations out there.
07-26-2001, 01:47 PM
You can hardly blame stridor for his inaction. What he got was fourth/fifth hand information (ie, story, hearsay, etc), and he probably could do little with that. You can hardly find him liable for anything about the situation.
Was cheating to get into med school wrong? Yes. Does it make your blood boil too? Yes, I never knew that you could get away with it. Will it endanger lives? Probably not, but it's a real slap to all those other people who didn't get in, and to those of us who did get in "fair and square". I hope that queens does not get an influx of "fake reference letters" next year because it works. :) ((aside: he he, I'm just wondering who would cheat to get in, and then actually go TELL people about it??? Pretty daring/stupid..... :rolleyes ))
However, it brings us to a point that you don't indiscriminantly snitch on everyone you know about. It's quite a decision, and there are consequences to consider also. In stridor's case, it was easy: let's say hearsay that you know is true, but it isn't up to you to snitch because you don't have evidence to back yourself up anyways.
In other circumstances, it may not be so easy where you are privy to information or directly involved. Judgement, conscience, and ethical principles must be considered and used. Right and wrong are not as "black and white" as we would often like to believe. And even when it is, you must also consider who it is that is actually most appropriate to point it out (and to which authorities).
Professionalism is a bar to which we all need to measure up to. It is, however, not absolute. It isn't just a set a rules and conduct carved in stone that we follow alone.
In medicine, more often than not, things depend on your judgement and the ethical principles that guide (and back you up) in such decisions. To be able to utilise such guidance in itself is part of professionalism.
07-26-2001, 06:47 PM
I don't want to encourage any sort of lying or cheating in any part of your medical careers or any career at all. For the situation that I had presented, I don't know how the references letter(s) were changed. He does not go to my school(so easy on that Queens mumbo jumbo) and I have only met him once about 4 years ago. From what I understand, his life is a mess now and probably wishes that he did not go into medicine.
A big reason for going into medicine is that you sincerely want to help others with your knowledge and skills. If this is true, then you should have no problem finding people who will support you in your career aspirations. The reason for a reference letter is so that the admissions committee can see that your past actions reflect what you say are your future actions(to help people). If you can't find three reference letters then maybe(but not necessarily) your actions are not sincere. Maybe your past actions have shown that you are better suited for another profession but you are still compelled to be called 'doctor'.
There will be times in med school and beyond where you will finding yourself asking why you are choosing to go through this mess. If you talk to doctors about medicine, they will tell you that you should only do it if you love science and have a desire to help people. For any other reason, you could go a different route and have a much easier life.
All of you have attended or will attend some lecture about whistleblowing and all its strengths and weaknesses. This was addressed quite publicly at UofT last year with their clinical clerks. No blanket statement can be made about ethical dilemnas. Otherwise they wouldn't be dilemnas! Little facts influence each situation and outcome.
I'll end with a little situation I heard of at UofT. A fellow interviewee told me this story a couple of years ago. A med student did a degree at one university and didn't do very well. He then repeated his degree at another university and applied to med school. He didn't show that he had a prior degree(which would have greatly influenced his GPA). In 3rd year, a professor from his OLD school recognised him. He was kicked out.
ok, when i made my original comment i assumed that strider personally knew this liar. perhaps, as he now says, he does not. given the situation that he has now outlined my post does seem overly enthusiastic. it has however brought out some good comments which is what i wanted to do. stir up the pot if you will.
kirsteen, you actually had some good points.
mr. chill out can go away. i wasn't threatening strider, just making him think. i have no hostility toward you strider just towards the actions that i believed that you had not taken. i was not wronged in any way previously nor am i bitter towards anyone. i don't want to kick you out of med school. however perhaps this conversation has made you open your mind a little towards irresponsible posts that can be interpreted in different ways. be careful in the future because in a professional environment it can come back to bite you harder than i did.
mr legal liability, give me a break. obviously if it's 3rd or 4th hand info mentioned in passing strider won't get into any trouble. enough with your tort law and causality. stop trying to be smart.
mr wong, start to degnerate and you will lock it? ok ok. please please no mr med 3. you did however have some good points so thats good.
mr notrexmorgan gave good examples. you seem like you have some good sense too.
in summary, strider good last points. lets not fight anymore. friends? just be careful with "throw away statements" like the first one you made.
beers at the toucan? i'll buy.
i'm closer than you think.
i think we've all learned something here.
07-26-2001, 11:23 PM
I realized after reading the old posts carefully that my first post did not contribute the way that MED has requested. I didn't want to give the impression that cheating is ever a good thing. I wish I could share more about what I know(but won't for the sake of privacy) but I want everyone to know that every action has its own consequences.
My first post was more out of gossip than anything else - just one of those 'hey guess what I heard' kinds of things.
I think everyone enjoys a good debate and I tried to stay out of it for as long as I could to see what ideas everyone else had. Some ideas came out that I had completely forgotten since law and ethics class. I especially hoped to see the opinions of my favourite posters and they eventually showed up ;)
Toucans? You buy first pitcher, I'll buy next :)
Now that we're all hunky dory, can we change topics now?
not rex morgan
07-27-2001, 12:16 AM
Good. We're all happy now. Good debate; good times. I did come across an example of someone getting caught today. I thought it would be nice to contribute to the initial intention of this thread. It's again, one of these fourth-hand stories that happened a few years ago, but justice was served. Apparently a girl applied and didn't get in, found out the med schedule and crashed classes. She got away with it for a bit. She was, of course, eventually found out, and was barred from ever applying again. Kind of scary, considering the security issues involved. I don't know if this got out to the other med schools. It would be interesting to find out actually.
07-27-2001, 01:15 AM
On a totally unrelated note, not rex morgan, could you please drop me an e-mail whenever it's convenient for you? I wanted to ask for your help with something. firstname.lastname@example.org
UBC, Med 3
07-27-2001, 08:35 AM
As for stories, I've heard of a few within U of T undergrad itself.
1) I read this in the Varsity (U of T student council newspaper) a couple of years ago. Every now and then, the varsity publishes an official notice from the university detailing proceedings dealing with student offenses (which means this story is not just hearsay and gossip, but is actually true to the extent that my memory serves me).
The first case detailed an undergrad student who forged her transcript (changed her grades in life sciences in the 50's to ones in the 90's) and then sent it to a pharmacy school in Buffalo (that's a town in New York beside Niagara Falls). Well, as you can easily see, it was found out pretty quickly since the transcript was not sealed by the faculty of arts and science, and she was caught. Her punishment was quite severe, but I think appropriate. She was expelled not only from the faculty of arts and science, and the university of toronto, but she was also BLACKLISTED to every university in North America. Yes, there is a black list and it prevents you from being accepted to any other university and any other professional school within north america. So, you should be aware when you decide to risk your academic career when attempting to do these awful things. You may not be able to start over or get any "higher education" due to the black list; your academic career may be over at that point.
I also know of a high school student who lied about retaking courses on his high school apps to U of Waterloo. He was accepted with the largest scholarship into an engineering faculty there. When he couldn't even make it through the first mid- terms, the faculty got suspicious and checked and verified with the high school about the # of times he retook courses. he went on that blacklist also.
The second case outlined in the varsity dealt with a student who forged a doctor's note to miss an exam. Well, university procedures were strict, so they phoned the doctor to check and he was caught. He was also expelled from U of T, but I don't think he was blacklisted.
2) This story is one told by the chemistry prof that taught (for many years and is still teaching) year one chemistry at U of T. From year to year, the dept of chem had changing rules about whether you wrote the midterm in pen or it was optional to write it in pencil, etc. Well, one year, they decided to allow students to write in pencil. When the tests were marked, returned, and the answers posted, many students returned their tests for remarking. Well, 8 students were caught for changing their answers by erasing and then writing the correct answer. How did they catch them? Well, the dept made a photocopy of every test before returning the tests to the students. These were compared to check if you are trying to cheat for more marks. The students were reprimanded by the university rules and they each received a grade of zero in the course.
3) This story is about people I actually know in the comp sci faculty that have graduated by now. A group of them did an assignment together (which was not allowed, they must be done individually). Actually, one person did the assignment, and the rest copied it. They were caught because the all had the same mistake and given a grade of zero for the course.
07-27-2001, 09:12 AM
Continuing along this interesting, tabloid-y vein... Perhaps it's abetted by the fact that UT is so large and maybe a little more competitive than some university environments, but I also have a wee anecdote to add to Akane's post.
I'm currently taking Orgo downtown, and during our first lecture our prof recounted a few scenarios of how various individuals have tried to get around doing the work required for orgo to secure some good grades. One of the stories corroborated Akane's with respect to the photocopying of exams and comparing them when re-marked. Another incident caused our prof to declare that our exams are not kept in either, the organic chemistry office nor the laboratory office; that the files are kept on a computer off-site. This, due to the fact that he recently testified in a court case against one or more students who orchestrated an organic chem. office break-in to find copies of future exams, and were caught. I believe he mentioned that the student(s) were expelled. Big price to pay to do well on an exam.
07-27-2001, 09:41 AM
I think everyone has heeard of the UofT law problem but I'll recap anybody who doesn't know. UofT law has a Christmas exam that is used as a marker for a student's progress. It doesn't go on any transcript or permanent record. However, law firms have been asking students for their grade on that exam. This is very important for summer jobs. Your summer job in law often determines the firm that hires you after you graduate. So obviously, students take this mark very seriously.
Because it's not on any transcript, law firms rely on the students for giving them their mark on the exam.
There have been incidents where students(like a quarter of the class) 'elevated' their mark to look better on job applications. The law faculty found this out and a HUGE investigation took place. I believe 8 students were expelled. I think it's funny because it's law - ethics and all...
I have a question for everyone at UofT. I hear that it's not a very fun environment to work in. People ripping pages out of library books, moving books around, just to get an edge over somebody else. If you miss something in lecture and ask the person next to you what you missed, they'll turn away or give you the wrong answer. I even heard that one person was sick for a day and asked someone for notes. That person then copied notes PURPOSELY incorrectly just to screw the guy up. Is it really this bad?
07-27-2001, 11:46 AM
If you hear it from me, it probably is to a certain degree (ask me about how my organic chem lab was sabotaged some time, I'll tell you the story).
Not that U of T is a bad undergrad school. It's just that there are many types of people, and depends on who you know and interact with. I guess it's a consequence of a large school. That's just undergrad for the most part. It is a VERY competitive environment, especially when there are people out to stay there in the top 2 % of the class. This pertains to the life sciences only. I studied in commerce where people are much much more laid back, active, and happy. I took math with the com sci crowd; they are the most "together" bunch of students in the whole faculty of arts and science. They are so nice, they are friendly and very helpful, even strangers in the next seat/terminal. And the arts students are fun, but truly interested in learning, arguing, and broadening our views. So it depends on what you study and who you study with.
Reference books/test answer books with pages ripped out is common (happened in ECO100), but if you're caught doing that you will be expelled. Move/hide books in short term loans? get caught and be expelled too. The university takes this very seriously.
As for purposely giving the wrong answers, I would have to say that it is very mean. I don't think that it happens (never to anyone I knew anyways). I think that's a little exaggerated. May be they just asked someone who was really dumb who gave the wrong answers. It also depends on who you ask for help. You should ask your friends and people you know, not strangers or people who possibly don't like you.
True, in the life sciences, people are more reluctant to answer your questions for fear of losing any edge (no matter how insignificant). That's probably one of the reasons why there is the impression that U of T is a competitive and cold environment. That may be true for some, but I think that it really depends on yourself and what you make of situations.
07-28-2001, 08:36 PM
This is an interesting topic considering that I was asked almost the same question during my UofT interview! They asked me, in light of the current law school situation, what I would do if a fellow med student I knew had forged his/her grades in an attempt to land a more competative residency?
I responded that I woudl first try to get the person to re-consider, and if it apperaed to me that they were not going to, I would report them to the proper authority (This was not false preaching; I have done so in the past as I am sure one of my referres outlined in the personal assesment). I told htem my reasoning was that (especially considering the recent articles on those incompetant doctors who were botching surjeries in Canada after being banned in the US)) I did not want it on my conscience that one day I could read about the same person botching a surgery (or whatever field they are in) and then realize that I could have prevented them from landing a residency for which they were incapable of handling.
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