During my three weeks working in the pediatric dialysis unit and the post-kidney transplant unit, I noticed a troublesome trend. The whiter and younger pediatric patients were resting comfortably in the post-transplant unit with their new surgically placed kidney being meticulously taken care of. The darker and older pediatric patients spent countless, mindless hours attached to a dialysis machine with little hope for a new kidney after years of being on the waitlist.
Upon reflection, my actions and feelings in caring for this patient reveal how truly afraid I was to be wrong; not necessarily about the diagnosis, but rather about whether the patient would be okay. Maybe coming in daily and opening her chart for good news was just me hoping that my initial impression was still right instead of coming to terms with the fact I was very wrong.
One of the most powerful paradoxes of medical education is that we learn how to heal the living by dissecting the dead. Our cadavers house the beauty and intricacies of human creation, the distinctiveness yet commonality of each human body and the finality of decline.
When I first started learning how to write SOAP notes, I was under the impression they would serve as objective documents to detail the medical history and current health problems experienced by patients It seemed these notes were to be created by — and for — clinicians. I now realize this perception could not be more wrong.
Humor can be a double-edged sword; when used inappropriately in the workplace, it can taint interactions between health care providers and detract from professionalism.
In my white coat, / I ask for forgiveness. / Forgive me, / to the weary homeless man
In medicine, very little is black and white. Now, as a medical student who has begun to experience ethical dilemmas in the realm of patient care, I’ve discovered that the ethics of journalists and physicians are more similar than I expected.
My first patient with Alzheimer’s, Sheryll, led me on a journey of questions and self-growth which I had never expected. Until meeting her, I hadn’t thought extensively about how our biology may dictate cognition and free will. While my thoughts on the matter continue to develop as I broaden my clinical experience, these considerations continue to frame my understanding of my patients, myself and the world around me.
The Iranian Consultative Assembly, the equivalent of a parliament, legalized living non-related donations in 1988 and set up a new government-run transplant matching system. Within this novel framework, living donors could choose to have their organs typed and registered in advance. If they are needed, a third-party independent organization, the Dialysis and Transplant Patients Association (DTPA), would set up contact between the donors and recipients. The donors would be compensated by a payment from the government, free health insurance, and sometimes additional payment from the recipient. The payment from the government is said to be in the range of $2,000-$4,000.
This unrest reached a high point in September, when nurse Dawn Wooten filed a formal complaint against Dr. Mahendra Amin, a Georgia physician working at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center, who she claims performed mass hysterectomies on detained immigrant women without consent. While the country reacted in shock, the reality is that coerced sterilization against communities of color is not new. The United States has a shameful history of exploiting Black and brown women’s bodies as part of a larger objective for population control rooted in white supremacy — and the medical field is partly to blame.
This piece is focused on the applications of empathy and compassion in decision-making. How can we distinguish between them? In its simplest form, empathy deals with feelings while compassion deals with understanding.
How could I study for my next exam instead of focusing my energy on the crisis around me? Was I selfish for still worrying about doing well in school while others died alone in the hospital on a ventilator? In these moments, I found respite in “Learning in War-Time,” a sermon delivered by C.S. Lewis to the students of Oxford in 1939 just as World War II began. In this timely sermon, Lewis addressed the chief concern on students’ minds: Why continue to study philosophy or science “when the lives of our friends and the liberties of Europe are in the balance?”