from ‘Every Patient Tells a Story’

She’s [Dean of students at Yale Medical School] concerned that medical education spends too much time focusing the students’ attention on the disease and not enough time on the patient. She cringes when she overhears a student refer to a patient by his disease and location, or when the discussion of a cool diagnosis overlooks the potentially tragic consequences for the person with the disease. She worries that the doctors they will become will forget how to talk to the patient, to listen to the patient, to feel for the patient. For years she worried that in the excitement of mastering the language and culture of medicine they might lose the empathy that brought them to medical school in the first place. 

2 versions of a patient’s story: first as the patient told it and then as it might have been written up by a doctor… both presented by a doctor who spent a year interviewing African American patients about their experiences in the health care setting…

"In June 1967, I went to Vietnam. I was a member of the First Infantry Division. My first evening there, they sent me out on an ambush." She didn’t have any props, nor a costume, but through her voice and expressions she became this middle-aged black man who never recovered from the battlefields and bars of his year in the Vietnam War. She portrayed this man, clearly destroyed by an almost lethal dose of post-traumatic stress disorder, drugs and liquor. It was a compelling performance.

"I had been drinking. I was very loud and belligerent that night and my sister, who is probably the closest person to me, walked off and said that she was never going anywhere with me again. Afterward, I went out to the Dumpster and i threw the bottle in that Dumpster and I said that I was never going to drink anymore. I tried to stop on my own, but the next morning when the liquor store was open I was right there buying another bottle. A lot of times, people—they want off but they have no control. That is what the bondages of Satan do, using alcohol and drugs.”


The doctor seamlessly switched into a professional voice, with crisp diction and shorn of any accent as she read a re-creation of what a hospital admission note might have read.

"Chief complaint— a 34 year African American male brought in by police; a question of a drug overdose. The history of the presenting illness: The patient was found unresponsive and brought to ER. He was intubated in the field to protect his airway since he was actively seizing, which caused respiratory depression when he was found. In the ER, the patient was minimally responsive to pain. Per police, he had 3 grams of cocaine in pocket. He has been identified by his driver’s license as Mr. R. Johnson whose prior medical records indicate multiple past admissions for drug overdose."

"You’re starting out on the journey across this bridge, this education, and right now you are on the same side as your patients. And as you get halfway over the bridge you’ll find yourself changing and the language the patient had and you had is being replaced by this other language, the language of medicine. Their personal story is being replaced by the medical story. And then you find yourself on the other side of that bridge— you’re part of the medical culture. When you get there, I want you to hold on to every it of your old self, your now self. I want you to remember these patients."


Working list of books to read, with unread ones in order of interest:

  • Every Patient Tells a Story (in progress)
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
  • Come Be My Light - collection of Mother Teresa’s Letters
  • Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  • Ender’s Game* reread
  • The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
  • My Life in France - Julia Child
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Home by Marilynne Robinson
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Quiet - Susan Cain
  • The Emperor’s Children - Claire Messud
  • Life of Pi* still unfinished
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon
  • Anthem by Ayn Rand
  • Becoming Justice Blackmun by Linda Greenhouse
  • The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff
  • What She Saw - Lucinda Rosenfeld
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Generous Justice by Tim Keller
  • Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  • Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborn
  • Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novagratz

Arranged a new reading spot. Also got some flowers for the deck and planted a few succulents in a pot this evening. might upload a newer version tmrw. (good) coffee and a (good) book… keeps me fairly happy.
There are several nice quotes in The Namesake.. and one that I just came across that I feel like jotting down:

He understands why she lived here (Paris) for as long as she did, away from her family, away from anyone she knew. Her French friends adore her. Waiters and shopkeepers adore her. She both fits in perfectly yet remains slightly novel. Here Moushumi had reinvented herself, without misgivings, without guilt. 

Arranged a new reading spot. Also got some flowers for the deck and planted a few succulents in a pot this evening. might upload a newer version tmrw. (good) coffee and a (good) book… keeps me fairly happy.

There are several nice quotes in The Namesake.. and one that I just came across that I feel like jotting down:

He understands why she lived here (Paris) for as long as she did, away from her family, away from anyone she knew. Her French friends adore her. Waiters and shopkeepers adore her. She both fits in perfectly yet remains slightly novel. Here Moushumi had reinvented herself, without misgivings, without guilt. 


ooohh..
inspiration for potential flag banners in our new apartment? (@chewyjuhee.. i wish this worked in tumblr lol) i like the neutral toned wrinkled look.

ooohh..

inspiration for potential flag banners in our new apartment? (@chewyjuhee.. i wish this worked in tumblr lol) i like the neutral toned wrinkled look.

(via keroiam)


from an anonymous graduating med student’s perspective:

I don’t think the home visits from the [social medicine] elective or the ——- ——- health fair surprised me, but it definitely reinforces this idea of resource-poor settings and how there’s such a disconnect between the sterile, quick-paced doctor’s office and someone’s home, and how they’re actually going to take the intended plan in this sterile, formal manner and implement it in their home. It’s laughable to me when doctors say, “oh you need to lose weight, just exercise and eat less”. It’s almost worse off for the patients, because then they feel like they’re doing something wrong, but the idea of implementing a whole new eating plan and exercising all on your own in a resource-poor setting is almost insurmountable. It’s comical sometimes, when doctors think we can just say that we’re doing our job.


yes!! i love this. the atmosphere.. white simplicity… dark hardwood flooring. and the nice standard old-school windows.

yes!! i love this. the atmosphere.. white simplicity… dark hardwood flooring. and the nice standard old-school windows.

(via sweethomestyle)


reposting for: the wooden floors, tall floor-to-ceiling windows with the crucial Juliet balcony, and especially the monochromatic wall molding

reposting for: the wooden floors, tall floor-to-ceiling windows with the crucial Juliet balcony, and especially the monochromatic wall molding

(via keroiam)


dustjacketattic:

wall art | photo nick scott

inspiration for some future wall art… from yours truly? lols.. i have too many alternating hobbies….

dustjacketattic:

wall art | photo nick scott

inspiration for some future wall art… from yours truly? lols.. i have too many alternating hobbies….


Mindfulness of others goes far beyond the question of alleviating poverty… We have become a country of strangers. And that estrangement is accompanied by falling trust. We are, in the words of the sociologist Bob Putnam, “hunkering down,” especially in the major cities, marked by ethnic groups that don’t know and don’t trust one another. Markets cannot overcome the distrust. Indeed, markets have facilitated the sorting. We need new social norms and more participatory political processes—such as greater democratic decision making within local communities—to get strangers talking and working together once again.

Jeffrey Sachs, The Price of Civilization (via viewfrommilano)

if only..