One of my bucket-list goals before I die is to climb Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro. Where did this come from? I’m not entirely sure. Yet something about climbing the tallest two mountains in the world has always appealed to me; I like challenges, and I can see no greater challenge to my physical and mental fortitude. However, even though I try to work out regularly, I’ve never gone rock climbing in my life. Therefore, keeping this bucket-list goal in mind, I decided to grab some friends and go rock climbing for my next adventure.
At Albany Medical College, upon our orientation to gross anatomy, we are asked to draw our feelings on blank index cards prior to entering the cadaver laboratory. As we progress through the year, our sentiments regarding anatomy may remain the same, or may change, and these drawings allow us to look back at this milestone we crossed as budding medical students.
The white coats and patient gowns that confer the implicit power dynamic of the physician-patient relationship are not to be found here in the operating room. This place has neither the tolerance nor the patience for this subtle symbolism. Here, on the other side of the Rubicon, the rules are stark, the stakes laid bare. The patient lies naked on the table, arms extended on boards, Christ-like, as the surgeon holds the knife handle and plays God.
Unlike me, a lot of my medical school peers are involved in dance activities, from ballroom to hip-hop, and claim that going to dance classes really helps them shake off any negative feelings from the day. Intrigued, I did a little research. Sure enough, I found several articles espousing the beneficial effects of dance on mental health.
On Thursday, many of you will gather round a dinner table with your loved ones and give gratitude for your friends, family and good fortune. Many of you will think of the meal associated with the inception of this holiday, be filled with warm fuzzy feelings and gloss over the real history surrounding the relationship between those who supposedly attended the first “Thanksgiving” dinner. After eating a second helping of Grandma’s famous pie, few will be concerned about the side of historical oppression or racist colonization offered with this dinner because well, that isn’t so palatable.
Everyone at the nursing station turned silent and looked at the nurse who had delivered the news. I looked at her in disbelief, my brain struggling through a fog of confusion and surprise. I squinted at my patient list trying to remember who was the patient in 1152. Recognition finally hit and I remembered the little old lady that we saw during rounds two hours ago.
Gun violence as a public health issue is not a new phenomenon. In 2014 alone, there were 81,034 injuries and 33,599 deaths due to gun violence in the United States,which equate to 222 Americans injured, and 92 killed, by firearms every day.
It’s been a hard week. Hard, of course, because this election has caused an unprecedented wave of fear across our nation. Hard because those whose lives have been invalidated by our newest president elect are already exhausted by the daily struggle of living in a hostile country. And — not to be discounted — hard because bad days in medical school seem to hunt in packs and pounce all at once.
Reminiscing on the Etta James hit “At Last,” that’s exactly how I felt when Steven J. Stack, MD, president of the American Medical Association, finally addressed the epidemic of gun violence in our nation. Finally he hit the nail on the head, and called the situation what it really was: a public health crisis.
The history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is marked by devastating losses and a disease burden that persists to this day. Though slow to emerge, both government policy and pharmaceutical research began to address the epidemic, and the resulting combinations of antiretroviral cocktails and outreach programs have helped make HIV infection a manageable, if inconvenient, chronic condition. In 2012, however, the FDA approved a drug that had the potential to shift both the American and global strategies regarding HIV and AIDS.
With the 2016 presidential election just days away, debates on the personalities and as well as the policy agendas of the respective candidates have become increasingly fierce. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may both be moderates at heart, but their official policy platforms represent near-extremes of the political spectrum. This holds especially true in their proposals regarding healthcare: Trump’s proposal, entitled “Health Care Reform to Make America Great Again,” and Clinton’s, “Universal, Quality, Affordable Health Care for Everyone in America” together paint a picture of the spectrum of opinions and debates surrounding healthcare.
Kyle Romines is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Louisville hailing from Campbellsville, KY. His first novel, titled The Keeper of the Crows, appeared on the Preliminary Ballot of the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards in the category of Superior Achievement in a First Novel and will soon publish his second full length novel, a western, titled Salvation.