Tag: humanism in medicine

Madhavi Bhavsar (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine

Madhavi is a Class of 2017 medical student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. Before medical school, she studied sociology and biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and spent a year abroad volunteering and traveling in India. Her interests include social justice and public health, along with health journalism. When she's not studying, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting with recipes to make them healthier or out in the community meeting new people.

Dangers of Falling Into the Bias Trap: A Story of Two Patients

In medical school nowadays, there is a heavy emphasis on perfecting a physician’s demeanor when interacting with patients. Classes on essential patient care focus upon the social constructs of medicine, allowing permeable medical minds to ponder over various patient-care scenarios and determine the perfect method of one’s bedside manner. I used to believe such classes were ludicrous.

Chart Review

Seeing this dialog box, which pops up on the hospital’s electronic health record program, is never a surprise. On the list of patients whose charts I’m supposed to review for my summer research project, the deceased ones are highlighted in grey, setting them apart from the otherwise black-and-white list of names and medical record numbers.

Once the Compressions Stop

White gloves on black skin. The fingers of my gloved hands still interlaced, still resting tensely over her sternum. Elbows still locked. Frozen in the position endlessly refined during CPR training. It turns out that blood flow is important for catheter angiography, which presents a challenge if your patient has no heartbeat. Has not had a heartbeat for 45 minutes.

Copyright: © Aaron Siskind Foundation
Permanent URL: https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/83.213

On Pleasures and Terrors

Medical school is terrifying. This is not something I feel like I am supposed to admit — or let alone feel — because it conveys insecurity. For all the learning we compress into our days as students, we operate in a constant state of not knowing. Perhaps paradoxically so, uncertainty itself seems to be guiding us down the path laid before us. It is as if we are walking with our hands stretched out in front of us, groping in darkness. Every day, we face the unfamiliar, not just in terms of knowledge, but also the larger questions of whether we are turning down roads that feel true to us.

Dr. Sahil Munjal

Breaking Bad News: A Side of Medicine That Is Not Easy, by Sahil Munjal, MD

Have you ever had a sinking feeling in your stomach when you are about to tell something to a patient or family member that might change their life forever? I had that feeling before speaking to the wife of my patient, Mr. Smith. It had only been one day since Mr. Smith was first admitted to the inpatient unit but regardless of how long the interaction is with a patient and their loved ones, some news is always difficult to deliver.

A Patient Thank You

Patients don’t always have to let us into their rooms. As medical students, I think we don’t give enough acknowledgement or praise to the vulnerable individuals that allow flocks of medical students to bumble around their bedside. But our perceived ineptness is the last thing on the patient’s mind; a friendly face that is willing to listen to their story is just as important.

A Good Doctor

Friday afternoon psychiatry didactic sessions are a holy time among medical students. A golden weekend rapidly approaches and the afternoon, typically spent trudging through paperwork, is instead spent listening to residents talk with minimal effort required to listen. At the end of a frantic third year of rotating, sometimes it’s nice to just set the busy work down and take it all in. Granted, I’ll actually have to learn the info at some point before the test, but for one afternoon it’s nice to be passive.


The Dangerous Devolution of Physicians into Technicians

With more applicants than ever, and a relatively static number of medical school and residency spots, there has been an increase in the use of metrics such as standardized test scores, GPAs and research publications to differentiate between applicants. Unfortunately, an emphasis on the unquantifiable attributes of physicians — the qualities that actually differentiate great clinicians from good ones — seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Untitled: The Persona of Medicine

As young children growing up, we all called each other by first name. So did our parents, relatives, teachers, and anyone else we ran into that wanted a way to identify who we were. As adults, attending physicians are still called by their first names around the same group of people from childhood. However, patients and most of the clinical staff may not even know the physician’s first name. When transitioning from a senior resident to a faculty physician, some event occurs where that beloved first name is molted. After the right of passage is completed, the rookie doctor becomes a veteran doctor; free of restrictions, supervision, and a first name.

Looking Back from the Wards: A Lesson from Anatomy

The other day, while scouring my computer for a lost document, I stumbled upon a speech I had given for my medical school’s anatomy donor recognition ceremony. It was an event held every fall, right after anatomy, during which our school’s first-year students showed their appreciation to the friends and families whose loved ones donated their bodies to science so that we could better learn the anatomy of the body. It has been a couple years since, so I decided to take another look at it.

Michael Tarkey (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Michael Tarkey is a member of the class of the 2017 at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He graduated from Saint Louis University in 2013 with a degree in Biology with minors in Theology and Urban Social Analysis. His interests include healthcare ethics, social justice, and long walks on the beach.