Physicians across many specialties are treating trafficked persons in their practice. Yet they are not trained to recognize human trafficking or know how to intervene. Studies have shown that 88 percent of US-born sex trafficking victims reported receiving medical care while being trafficked.
At this point, most medical students either know someone obsessed with podcasts, or are obsessed with the medium themselves. With shows on everything from broader pop culture to reading novels as spiritual texts, the podcasting boom allows anyone — including medical students — to engage their most niche interests on their own schedule. Given, however, the diversity and sheer volume of podcasts out there, it is be easy to become overwhelmed or miss a quality show or episode. Below are eight episodes, ranging from traditional interviews to creative nonfiction, that even the busiest medical student should take a break to listen to.
On a late March day in 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. For many Americans, it was a day of celebration as they would finally be able to get the healthcare they needed at a price they could afford. For others it was a day of frustration and confusion, because even from the beginning it was apparent that this plan was not perfect. Over the past six years we have watched the success and failures of the bill as it was slowly put into action. In that time more than 20 million people have gained health insurance.
Whenever I go to the hospital, I wear my grandpa’s socks. They looked distinguished on an older man, but a little childish on a me, a 25-year-old medical student. I’m okay with that. Feeling like an overdressed kid on Easter helps to balance the overwhelming pressure of becoming a physician.
What happened to his smile? / Minutes ago, he was beaming. / Now the patient’s face contorted as he yelled. / Fury filled every crevice and crack of his face.
When I was six, a set of strawberry hair ties foiled my endeavor for independence. My mother had a way of twisting the plastic ornaments at the end of her operation so they sat together like two friends on a bus, neat and obedient at the crown of my head. Despite my assertions, (“I can do it myself!”) I could never align their orbits.
When many people hear about human trafficking and health care, they usually think about sexual health: sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and so forth. However, the health problems of trafficking survivors are much more vast and complex. It is also important to note that not all trafficking survivors are trafficked for sex.
Theater, however, has given me more than just fun memories from my childhood. Its life lessons are ones that I have held onto my whole life and have directly impacted my path towards medicine. In fact, I believe that everyone, especially future physicians, should participate in theater not only because it can be a very rewarding extra curricular, but also because it can give you specific skills, such as the ones outlined below, to use later in your practice.
Delirium is a bread-and-butter presentation. The differential writes itself — stroke, infection, intoxication, electrolyte imbalances, shock, organ failure. The intellectual exercise this invites was practically invented for medical students, even if the final diagnosis (dehydration secondary to gastroenteritis) and its treatment (fluids) were relatively mundane.
A digital illustration by medical student David Yu.
For the smaller challenges of medicine, like fitting an entire person’s pertinent medical status in the half-inch gap between names on the patient list.
In the five years that have passed since I met the 14-year-old girl who opened my eyes to the terrible crime of sex trafficking in the United States, much has changed. We have made strides in state and federal legislation to protect survivors, national human trafficking prevention months have been declared, and victims are no longer treated as criminals.