By Robert Frysztak
Many stories have been written by physicians describing their personal experiences as a patient. But I cannot recall reading a similar perspective from a research scientist or medical educator, one who has intimate knowledge of anatomy and physiology paralleling or exceeding that of most physicians. I would like to share with you my personal story of my recent encounter with the medical community.
I was diagnosed 18 months ago with a medical condition that, initially, was thought to be relatively common. My family physician referred me to a specialist that started me on the standard conservative approach of a prescription medication. After 6 months of trying the various medications available with no sign of improvement, the scientist in me began asking questions. I wondered how long a normal patient would continue to follow along with their doctor’s recommendations if they were not having success. I explored all the medical research I could find on my condition. I reached out to colleagues here at the medical school, and even spoke to students and residents who were working with other doctors in the field. At this point, I decided to change doctors. My new physician really listened to me, looked at my research, and together we decided to try a new treatment regimen. This type of collaboration is probably rare, with most patients accepting both the doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan without question…
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By Hedy S. Wald
“Medicine was used for villainous ends during the Holocaust. The Holocaust was an enormous trauma inflicted on human dignity and the human person; medicine was implicated in crimes against humanity.” His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston.1
January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 in 2005 after a special session marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust.2 In the words of Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon (2008), “The International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is a day on which we must reassert our commitment to human rights… We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world.”2
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By Kimrey Van Perre
My friends have been called “courageous” for sharing their plight as undocumented students with the US Congress. They have been called “DREAMers” due to the Dream Act that has been repeatedly introduced in Congress but never passed. I call them “selfless” and “unrelenting” in their commitment to the medically underserved despite their uncertain legal status.
I am a 3rd year medical student at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM). I am not a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) student. I was born a US citizen. But many of my friends at SSOM are DACA students. Their families, like mine generations ago, immigrated to this country. They wanted their children to have opportunities and to grow up in a safe and stable country…
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By Audrey Hertenstein
We shuffled through the metal detector and were directed to stand with our backs against a wall – the final step in an hour long process to enter the Florence, AZ Detention Center to visit with detainees the organization Mariposas sin Fronteras had been communicating with to offer assistances such as letters of community support and a friendly voice to reach out to. The guards ushered me and the other Loyola students through several locked doors and into a visitation room where we were only allowed one hour to meet, rules which seemed much too strict for a person whose only crime had been seeking asylum within our borders…
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By Michael P. McCarthy
The New Year offers a clean slate, a welcome opportunity to try something new. Given the title of the blog, Reflective MedEd, I would like to offer a way of refocusing and reorienting oneself through reflecting on the experiences of the day. As Hedy Wald described in her blog post, reflection enhances a variety of skills that are essential for continuing professional identity formation for medical students, educators, and practitioners alike. The process of the examen serves as a way to reflect by reviewing hour-by-hour the events, circumstances, and experiences of the day…
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We are taking this opportunity to showcase a few excellent posts from the year gone by. We invite you to check out these highly popular essays.
Mary Boyle, MD, “The Invitation”: A poem and reflection about a patient as teacher
Guadelupe Garcia McCall, “Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl”: A poem about romance, illness, and death.
Amy Blair, MD, “Ideals and Inadequacies: Living the Physician’s Vocation.”