Our Devices, Our Selves: How to Avoid Practicing Distracted Doctoring

By Laura Vearrier

Americans check their phones an average of 46 times per day, (Eadicicco 2015) and they do so no matter what they are doing, including while driving, while at church, during sex, or out to dinner. (Rodriguez 2013) Are healthcare providers any different?  In a survey of medical students, 46 % reported texting, checking email, or making a call on their personal devices during a patient encounter, and 93% had seen a senior resident or attending do so. (Tran et al. 2014)  The answer to this problem is not as simple as turning off the device.  Improvements to medical care afforded by personal devices include efficient access to electronic text books, up-to-date literature, medical apps such as dosing calculators, and improved provider connectedness, among others.  The flip side is that the inevitable distraction created by smartphones creates a threat to professionalism in healthcare…
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Healing, Hate, and Solidarity

By Duncan Maru

“Non-violence is the highest spirituality”  Mahavir, Jain Spiritual Leader

“Lord, make me an instrument of your Peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love.”  St. Francis of Assisi

As a physician, it is my calling to heal. Healing goes far deeper than knowing the right science and prescribing the right medication.  It involves a deep and uncompromising feeling of compassion and love towards our patients.

How might a clinician think about the results of last week? President-elect Trump rose to power with a rhetoric of hate, division, and otherness.  Our country suffers deep income inequality and lack of opportunity. Our citizens suffer from the concentration of power and wealth and the resulting lack of education and opportunity.  Mr. Trump understood people’s anger and channeled it towards hate.  Yet hate is incapable of solving problems.  Believing this election was a referendum on America overcoming hate and fear, my family and I had supported and campaigned for Secretary Clinton…

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Filling the Vacuum: Immigration, Health Policy and Latino Leadership in Medicine

By Jacob Begres and Orlando Sola

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”
-Donald Trump

The history of the United States is defined by waves of immigration, starting first with English religious migrants and moving through migration from Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.  Though we have seen periods of migration from a variety of cultures and ethnicities, the Latino experience has been particularly entwined in our country’s history and reaches back to the very founding of the nation, when lands inhabited by Spanish-speaking communities were integrated into the new American social fabric.  Despite this long history of Latino migration, however, the history of discourse surrounding Latino economic and political migrants has been fraught with bigotry and historical myopia from its political leaders.  We need look no further than our own presidential election to find examples…
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Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, a poem by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

This poem is metaphorically from the cutting room floor, meaning that it was cut from the original manuscript for my novel-in-verse, Under the Mesquite.  My editor at Lee & Low Books, Emily Hazel, and I both agreed that given the nature of the manuscript, our intended audience, and the gentle treatment of the cancer in the rest of the narrative, this poem was too complex and a bit too graphic to be included in the final draft.  To this day “POPOCATEPETL AND IZTACCIHUATL” remains one of my most beloved poems.  I share it with you as an ofrenda, a humble offering, in gratitude for the wonderful reception, support, and warmth bestowed upon me during my author visit to the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine on October 25, 2016.  I hope you enjoy it.
All my best,
Guadalupe Garcia McCallRead More »

Moving Beyond “Boxed-in Thinking”: Imagining a Problem from the Patient’s Perspective

By Manveen Saluja

A number of years ago a woman in about 50 year old presented to my office complaining of “walking on a vein” in her left foot. She reported having seen a number of physicians – 9 in total – with no successful resolution.  She was told that there is no vein that could possibly roll under her foot, and her complaint was dismissed.

Her past medical history was significant only for a healed fracture in her left foot that occurred 9 years ago.  She believes the sequela to the fracture is that “a vein rolls under her foot” as she walks. She does not experience pain in the foot, but she is very distressed because she can’t walk or dance as she could before the fracture.  As I talk with her, I realize she has been experiencing this unpleasant sensation every time she walks for 9 years…
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Memento Mori- Reflecting on my Death and the Education of Medical Students

By Laura Creel

As part of their undergraduate medical education, students discuss end-of-life care; they hear lectures about valuing the lives and deaths of future patients; they are instructed in the legal issues surrounding advance directives and care planning.  They see death, too—see it in the cadavers that they incise, see it in patients who die surrounded by family members and in patients who die alone.  Sometimes these experiences with death are personal; many times the experiences are stripped of emotion because they occur in clinical environments.  But although students see death in medical school, some recent research shows that approximately half of residents do not feel well-prepared to deal with the deaths of patients.[i]

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Ideals and Inadequacies: Living the Physician’s Vocation

By Amy Blair

I was not sure I wanted to be a physician when I stood in front of the dark blue US mail box on the street corner of my college campus, one hand on the door handle and the other on my neatly typed applications, hesitant to let them go. I wanted an extraordinary life, but I wasn’t sure this was the right path.

The closest I felt to certainty was when I shadowed a family physician who cared for immigrants in a rural Midwest clinic.  He had served as a physician to countless victims in El Salvador during the civil war in the 1980s.  His past and current practices were rooted in his social justice, in the philosophy that all humans on the globe deserve the physical, mental and emotional well-being necessary to arrive at their potential.  I wanted to be a part of that and I began to imagine myself as a physician…
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