“Before I entered physician assistant school, I worked for about a year as a volunteer emergency medical technician in New Orleans with the New Orleans Emergency Medical Services. I wanted to work in something I knew would challenge me and determine if medicine and me really were a good fit. That experience definitely did the trick! There were so many patients who impacted me, but one in particular created a very poignant memory.
We received a pretty common call — older man, complaining of chest pain — and I remember on the scene thinking the whole time, ‘Wow, this really is like the textbooks!’ Everything pointed to a classic myocardial infarction and I recall feeling pretty confident with myself because this was a scenario covered so much in my training. I’m kneeled down at his feet with monitor in hand and he’s crying, but still answering all of my questions. Suddenly, he grabs me by my shirt collar and literally yanks me towards him! He looked me in the eye and he goes, ‘Don’t even bother. My life is too hard. That’s why I’m in this mess — my body just can’t take it anymore. You know, I don’t think I want to survive this.’
That moment was huge for me both personally and in elucidating what the point of view as practitioners may look like. It opened my eyes to the complexity of medicine and how inextricably linked our physical condition is to who we are as people. I saw how our physical bodies bear the scars of the emotional things we go through.”
I did not have the pleasure of meeting Lashlee in person since she is currently living in Colorado, so we had to correspond via email. I was skeptical at first about how open a trained medical professional would be when faced with the task of writing everything out. After all, we are often trained to write in an essay-style format that does not demonstrate real transparency and, as a result, offer up words that the reader stereotypically desires in a response. It was a pleasant surprise reading what Lashlee had to say about her life because she showcased herself as a brilliant young woman brimming with compassion in a way that was not overly formalized. It was clear from our interaction that Lashlee’s compassion has granted her a sense of heightened perception of the world around her. She recognizes and identifies with the inequality that women face in medical care, as well as many other facets of life, and intends to gear her medical abilities towards females regardless of her chosen specialty as a PA. Lashlee is an excellent example to those of us in the medical profession — she tends to the physical ailments, but also considers the emotional ones as well.
Cynthia “Lashlee” Warner was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where she graduated with degrees in both biology and Spanish. Lashlee currently attends the University of Colorado in pursuit of a master’s degree as a physician assistant. This is only her first year in the program, but she is already in love with Colorado’s mountains and all of the outdoor activities available to her.
Humans of Medicine explores the character, struggles and humanity of the people who have devoted their lives to medicine, a compilation of stories from all practitioners of the healing arts.