Mr. K had been admitted with dehydration and malnutrition secondary to diarrhea in the setting of HIV. During his stay, he developed refeeding syndrome. When the resulting electrolyte imbalances paved the way for cardiac arrhythmias, he coded twice in the ICU. The care team managed to bring him back each time, but not without consequence; the brutality of numerous cycles of CPR left him with multiple rib fractures, inflicting him with sharp pain every breath.
Yet, I am worried that these stories of heroism are harming the very people they celebrate. By creating an ideal “health care worker” as an endlessly altruistic individual, it stigmatizes the medical workers who refuse to take on these risks — even though there are many legitimate reasons not to. I’ve talked to doctors in China who have watched their friends and colleagues die during the SARS epidemic, who have watched the government break its promises to support their families after their death, and who, as a result, are no longer willing to volunteer on the frontlines. I’ve watched videos of nurses in the U.S. crying after they were forced to quit their jobs because hospitals are not providing them with the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to keep them safe. Many of them said that they were afraid of getting infected and spreading the disease to their high-risk family members. Who can say these are not real concerns? Who can call these physicians and nurses selfish and irresponsible?
And with scientific advancements came cures and treatments that the healers of antiquity could have never imagined. However, these advances came at the cost of appreciating a holistic approach to health. How pitiful is it when a profession which was once completely focused on healing the whole person must now devote entire conferences and countless seminars to finding ways of injecting that back into both its practitioners and the people they serve? In modern times, this disconnect is often bridged by the chaplaincy and pastoral care team. I understood this when I first reached out to Reverend Johnson. I hoped that she would be able to shed light on her profession as well as on her role in caring for patients.
It’s the proverbial question. Starting from the first time you utter an interest in medicine. Your parents, your friends, your mentors, your teachers, admissions committees — everyone asks you, “Why do you want to be a doctor?” This is not just a question you should think about before medical school, but one to revisit throughout your career.
It is not uncommon for transgender and gender-nonbinary individuals (TGNB) to be misgendered by healthcare providers or in the healthcare setting. This negatively affects their health and their relationship with their providers. Leaders in the field of transgender and non-binary healthcare recommend asking about a person’s pronouns and integrating pronoun introductions into the clinical setting.
A first-year medical student’s stress and anxiety begin to take physical form as she navigates her first year of medical school.
You don’t have to sit in silence and painfully nod along with an attending’s racist, misogynistic lectures because you’re their medical student. You don’t need to pick the skin off your cuticles to stop yourself from replying. You don’t need to learn how to hide your grimaces behind your mask because you know you’ll have to listen to them attack your identity for the next several weeks.
President Trump signed an executive order this past June that directs the Health and Human Services Department to develop a rule requiring hospitals to disclose online the prices that insurers and patients pay for common items and services. The rule also requires hospitals to reveal the amounts they are willing to accept in cash for an item or service. However, hospitals not complying only face a civil penalty of $300 a day, giving them latitude to effectively ignore the executive order. Trump’s executive order is formalized by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule, which applies to every hospital in the United States and is set to be effective on the 1st of January next year.
So, what is planetary health? It refers to a burgeoning field focused on understanding the health impacts of human-caused disruptions of Earth’s natural systems, including climate change and environmental pollution. This also encompasses the immediate and downstream health threats from such disruptions, which have impacts on communities at the local level — Philadelphia is no exception.
You call me on a Thursday to tell me / You were diagnosed with leukemia in October.
As many urban academic medical centers have become the world’s leaders in research and patient care, their bordering neighborhoods have suffered through decades of disinvestment and economic blight. Medical students often receive their first years of training in hospitals that serve these disadvantaged populations. While the current focus on social determinants of health represents a rising cornerstone of medical education, what else do medical students need to know about inner city poverty?
Yes, unfortunately, I have become one of the sixty thousand and rising daily cases in the nation.
Yet I am one of the lucky ones.