Tag: death and dying

Melissa Huddleston Melissa Huddleston (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine


Melissa Huddleston is a third-year medical student at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, Texas class of 2023. In 2016, she graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science in informatics and a secondary major in classics. In 2018, she graduated from Baylor University with a Master of Public Health in community health education. She enjoys hiking, reading, and playing board games. After graduating from medical school, Melissa would like to pursue a career in pediatrics.




Death, Dying and Suffering: The Need for Medical Education Reform

As she closed the door behind her, the palliative care geriatrician whom I (Meghan) was shadowing turned and said, “Remember, there are no difficult patients – just difficult situations.” We walked to our next patient, Mrs. C, who was suffering from congestive heart failure. All cures had been exhausted and she was tired of being at the hospital but was scared to enter hospice care. The doctor clasped hands with Mrs. C and explained that starting hospice did not mean giving up – it meant living life on her own terms in the time that was left. After these discussions, Mrs. C appeared more at ease and decided to pursue hospice care at her home. 

Cold Feet

There is a fine line between medicine and mortality: give too much and it can kill someone; give too little and even that could kill someone. We show up to the hospital with the intent to save lives, and anything that deviates from that goal is seen as a failure of the system, or, at times, of ourselves. However, over time, we come to learn that there is an in-between where we are at once trying to preserve life, all the while embracing the idea of human mortality.

The Silent Tears

In the pediatric ICU, a call was received from another hospital to give sign out for a patient already en route. The child being transferred had experienced a traumatic brain injury. The child was intubated after receiving every sort of therapeutic management imaginable in a desperate attempt to salvage any remaining brain function, but the prognosis was dire.

Self-Reflection: Defining Resilience in the Elderly

With a growing interest in geriatrics, I began to wonder what resilience looks like for elderly patients, who unlike children, present their life trajectories to physicians much later. This is perhaps challenging and even uncomfortable to discuss for those who perceive resilience as a long-term goal — overcoming significant barriers in order to improve over time. Resilience may not seem as relevant for elderly patients who may be nearing the end of their lives. 

Smile

Mr. T did not smile at me. No, I didn’t think it was because he was mean or anything; in fact, he was polite and had quite a calming voice. But honestly, it was hard to read someone’s facial expression behind a mask — at least during the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Margaret Yau (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of California, Riverside School of Medicine


Margaret is a fourth-year medical student at University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, class of 2022. She has a Master of Science in computer science from University of California, San Diego and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and computer sciences from University of California, Berkeley. After graduating medical school, Margaret would like to pursue a career in psychiatry, with a focus on the prevention/early intervention of psychiatric disorders and innovations in mental health. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, music, and ballet.