Why is a Young Man Suddenly Convinced He's a Doctor?

When an economics student starts practicing medicine on his classmates, real doctors have to step in.


When Alvin arrived at the hospital, he believed he’d been sent there as a doctor working on behalf of the U.S. government. “Which patient do I need to see first?” he asked the triage nurse.

Until recently, Alvin had been an ordinary economics graduate student. But somehow he’d become convinced that he was a trailblazing physician who needed to identify a rare strain of tuberculosis before it spread throughout campus.

That morning, he arrived at his graduate school classroom with a stethoscope around his neck, a surgical mask over his face and a bag containing more masks and several thermometers. He began to practice medicine on his classmates.


The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on DiscoverMagazine.com, please log in.