From the Wards

Imran Sehgal Imran Sehgal (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine


Imran Sehgal is a fourth-year medical student at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in Miami, Florida class of 2021. In 2016, he graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical sciences. He enjoys playing with his dogs, reading, and exercising in his free time. After graduating medical school, Imran would like to pursue a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology.




Strength

She was a woman in her early twenties accompanied by her husband. She was a first-time expecting mother at 19 weeks gestation with twins. They had received regular prenatal care and had been doing everything as the doctor had instructed to ensure a healthy pregnancy. She made this appointment because she felt something was off, her motherly instincts already keen. She and her husband had just gotten back from their ultrasound on the floor below, and they already knew the news that the doctor would give.

Ouroboros

I have become, in these last 6 months, a twisty little ouroboros. I eat my tail because it’s all I know, and I savour my pain and confusion. I am always full and always empty and a little twitchy from all the coffee. We are one of the few medical schools in the country to push ahead early with in-person rotations during the pandemic.

Patient 15

Patient 15 was a fit 38-year-old female with a past medical history of dilated cardiomyopathy who presented for follow-up on her most recent echocardiogram results. Flipping through the past notes, prior echos, family histories, I was captivated. A previous echo revealed an ejection fraction of about 50% — her heart was already revealing its impending fragility. The most recent echo, just five months later, revealed an ejection fraction of 20% — her heart was failing!

A Clarification: Reducing Patient Fear

In the extremely efficient and fast-paced environment of health care, the emotional needs of patients and their families may become secondary to their medical treatment plan. But emotional stressors may be directly associated with poor outcomes in regards to the healing process and overall quality of life. Thus, these needs may be addressed by face-to-face communication that allows for better patient education. Such investment of time is most rewarding when both the patient and family members have the opportunity to explain their fears and worries regarding treatment.

The Family Meeting

For me, one of these moments occurred during my neurology clerkship, a week into working in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I took part in a meeting with my team to update a family on the status of their loved one. It was my first time in this type of meeting, especially for a patient that I was directly involved in caring for. To our team of medical professionals, he is our 51-year-old male patient with a 45-pack-year smoking history but to his family, he’s a son, a husband and a father. All they understood about his condition up to this point was that Mr. R had a heart attack that led to some swelling in his brain.

The Vulnerability of Our Patients and Ourselves: A Parallel Chart Reflection

I actually don’t remember his name; he wasn’t my patient. I just saw him during rounds every day during my internal medicine clerkship. He was in his late-80s, and he was very ill. He had a long history of COPD, most likely attributed to his even longer history of smoking. He had been admitted to our service for a severe respiratory infection a few days prior to me starting the rotation. This was my last rotation of my 3rd year, and I walked in thinking I had seen enough COPD patients to know exactly what to expect.

Buddy

You were my first patient on my first inpatient rotation as a third-year medical student, which meant that I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I was mostly concerned with trying not to faint during presentations on morning rounds. I stared at your bowl of Cheerios, the cereal beginning to turn the skim milk a pale yellow. Your brow furrowed in annoyance behind your thick glasses.

“I Can’t Be Here Anymore”

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. 

“Welcome to Medicine”

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.

The Privilege of Patient Care

Each morning, Mr. E had a new concern — too hot, too cold, too dizzy, too stiff. He was admitted for what seemed to be a straightforward heart failure exacerbation, but his echocardiography showed severe hypertrophy in both sides of his heart that the cardiologists described as “concerning for infiltrative cardiomyopathy.”

Jennifer Li (3 Posts)

Medical Student Editor and Contributing Writer

Emory University School of Medicine

Jen is a fourth-year medical student at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2016, she graduated from Emory with a Bachelor of Arts in English concentrated in multi-ethnic contemporary American literature and a minor in Music. Jen is passionate about addressing healthcare disparities, highlighting intersectionality and patient-centered care, narrative medicine, and mentorship/education. Aside from medicine, she also enjoys poetry, piano, tennis, indie concerts, Asian-American media, and spending too much time in coffeeshops. After graduation, she aspires to pursue a career in Internal Medicine.