By Fabiana Juan Martinuzzi
“Pobrecito”– she said as we discussed the patient’s pneumonia course before entering his room.
“Pobrecito” – she repeated as we donned our gloves.
“Pobrecito”- she mouthed to us in front of our patient.
“Pobrecito”- she whispered in my ear as we left the room.
That day, “pobrecito” became a word I eliminated from my vocabulary. In Spanish “Pobrecito” translates roughly to “poor thing” or “poor baby” and it is an appropriate word to use to show empathy with an endearing connotation. However, when one of the healthcare providers in the team used it incessantly to show pity in front of my 60 year old patient with cerebral palsy and dementia I began to cringe every time I heard her say it.Read More »
By Puja Nayak
“Doctor,” I say, my voice fading. I hear footsteps running and my eyes shut.
Hours later, I have a wire in me. I try and pull it out but my doctor stops me.
“No, don’t do that sweetie.”
I give her a look. I don’t understand why I’m here. My head is hot, I am sweating, and many students surround me, taking notes. Are they talking about me?
“Honey, you have something called Kawasaki.”
I raise my eyebrows.
“Your body and I are fighting it, so you will be okay.” She hands me a juicebox and leaves the room with my parents.Read More »
By Cesar E. Montelongo Hernandez
Last week a federal appeals court upheld the ruling that blocks the Trump administration from ending DACA. This means the nationwide injunction that allows DACA to remain will stay in place. Despite this, the legal battle will continue and likely head to The Supreme Court of the United States. DACA recipients have been granted a few months of respite but their long-term outlook is still very uncertain.
I am currently in my fourth year of medical school. In total the combined MD-PhD program takes eight years to complete (an MD degree alone takes four years). Students begin by completing two years of the MD, switching over to the PhD for about four years, then coming back to complete the last two years of the MD. At present I have completed two years of the MD degree and I am in the second year of the PhD degree. Ideally, I will complete the PhD degree by 2021 and the MD degree by 2023.Read More »
By Sunny Nakae
In May the Stritch alumni magazine published a cover feature article about our first cohort of DACA recipients admitted to the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and their impending graduation. We received both positive and negative correspondence about this feature. What follows is a compilation of complaints I received from some alumni and a summary of the responses I offered.
“As an alum I am disappointed in your policy to admit DACA recipients over US citizens. Because you are admitting non-US citizens that means a US citizen will not get a seat. Supporting undocumented students violates Federal Law. Did these DACA recipients get ‘affirmative action’ status? Candidates should get admitted because of their credentials, not because they are minorities or immigrants. What constitutes the right minority? It seems like Japanese, Korean and Chinese are no longer considered minorities but smaller Asian groups like Hmong are? In my graduating class there are many of us who will no longer be supporting the school.”
Dear Stritch Alum,
Thank you, sincerely, for expressing your current views on our decision to accept MD applications from DACA recipients. This happened in 2012 with the support of our then dean, Dr. Linda Brubaker, and our then president, Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J The inclusion of DACA recipients continues to receive full support from our current dean, Dr. Steven Goldstein, and our president, Dr. JoAnn Rooney. It seems from your email that you might not have all of the facts for the situation, so I would like to open a dialogue and provide those facts for you and any colleagues with whom you wish to share this information. I understand that at first glance this decision may appear to disenfranchise other applicants, specifically those of Asian descent or US citizens. Read More »
By Kihyun Kwon
It was an eventful start to the morning. My attending saw the first patient, who voiced murder ideation towards her unfaithful husband. I imagined myself being taken aback in a troublesome situation like that. I was still in a state of shock when my patient arrived. The clinic schedule had no regard for my emotions and gave me the most difficult patient I ever came across.
The nurse came back shaking her head and said, “The patient will not talk or make any eye contact.” The preparation notes I took earlier said she was a college student with Autism spectrum disorder, depression and anxiety. Never having had any interaction or personal experience with autism, I was nervous. My attending offered to see the patient with me, but I took the initiative to interview by myself. The patient was lying on the examination table playing on the phone while her mother greeted me. I introduced myself to the disinterested patient; I was utterly ignored.
I asked the mother about the patient’s history.
“How has she been doing?”
“Have her symptoms improved?”
Talking about the patient in her presence without actually conversing with her felt awkward. Answers that the mother gave seemed impersonal, and I could not empathize with the information especially with the patient being engaged in her phone.
I wasn’t sure if it was out of annoyance, or concern, but I started directing questions toward the patient.Read More »
By Megan Masten
I recently had the opportunity to spend a month at a free health-care clinic in Flint, Michigan as part of my third year Internal Medicine clerkship.
I am in an underserved medicine program and I have a deep interest in working with people who have characteristically been left out of healthcare. I loved working with the population who receive their healthcare services at the free clinic – I have mostly been impressed with patient’s willingness to feel vulnerable. I have spent my third year of medical school in a variety of medical settings, and my favorite type of patient interactions are the ones where patients are willing to be completely honest with me and share things about their life that they might be ashamed of or have complicated feelings about. I feel like I am doing what I’m called to do when I get to have difficult discussions with people about medical and non-medical issues that affect their lives, and my ability to have these discussions has been strengthened by my time at the clinic.
I spent time with a patient at the Free Clinic who opened up to me about his mental health issues. He was recently started on a new antidepressant medication for depression and anxiety, and he was open and honest about his challenging feelings. He shared with me that he was feeling really depressed and had frequent suicidal ideations – and he was quick to say, “I’m sure you don’t struggle with depression, I’m sure your life is really good.” It was such an important and unexpected conversation to be had; although I don’t personally struggle with depression at this point in my life, I can’t say that I never will, and I can’t say that I don’t understand how he feels. I shared this with him, and I shared with him the fact that I have family members with depression and bipolar disorder who have been suicidal in the past.Read More »
By Suzanne Minor
At this year’s Southern Group on Educational Affairs conference, the University of Mississippi hosted an outing at the Two Mississippi Museums, consisting of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
I focused my visit on the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. It was exhausting, difficult, heart-wrenching, and, in the end, hopeful. Growing up in rural Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, I witnessed legalized segregation through small private schools and experienced rampant racism as the norm. Thankfully, college and medical school broadened my perspective, particularly gross anatomy. Once without skin, all of those black and white cadavers looked so similar. Not better than or less than, but equal in skinless death. I dove into former slave narratives, reading Frederick Douglas and trying to reconcile the message from my upbringing – that I was better than because I was white – with my new learning in gross anatomy and in my direct experience with people who looked different than me. I was learning that we were all just human, no better and no worse than each other. My professional career has been dedicated to attending to the medical and holistic needs of the underserved communities of Miami, Florida, a diverse area in which I’m in the minority.
Read More »