History Lessons: What Doctors Learn When Doing Patient Histories by Natasha Massoudi

We learn in medical school to take full social, family and physical histories with a new patient. We use checkboxes to run down the list of points in each history. We are taught to be thorough and document each answer. Often though, between the checkboxes and lists, the patient’s story is forgotten.

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The Importance of Transitions: A Reflection by Ob/Gyn Andrea Eisenberg

Transitions are equally important in the hospital as day shifts to night and night to day and we hand off patients we may have been taking care of the past 12 to 24 hours. Just as children need time to adjust to a transition, so do our patients as they transition to a new day, new staff, and possibly a new baby. 

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Being Useful: The Emotional Transformation of A Caregiver. A Commentary on Family and Coming Together by Bekka DePew

We are often powerless in the face of death or illness to do much besides watch; we are forced to recognize “the uselessness of love to give her breath.” This feeling of helplessness we experience, both as physicians and as caretakers, forces us to reevaluate the way we understand ourselves and the purpose behind the role we play as a family member or a healthcare provider.

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This Game We Play Called “Dying." A Meditation About Being on the Sidelines by Vivian Lam

The game of death is quite addictive. 

Of course, the stakes are high—it’s the end of all things, the last chance, last glance, last words. All-or-nothing; last-ditch effort. A lifetime of apologies, love, and tenderness condensed into a prognosis of months, days, a few gasping breaths.  

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The Person Behind the Pattern: A Reflection about Doctors and Diagnoses by Blake Gregory

There’s something you should know about your doctor’s clinical judgement: It relies on a flawed premise. As doctors, our medical education conditions us to look for patterns. Pattern recognition allows us to triage and identify emergencies. It helps us distinguish pulled muscles from heart attacks. It’s a powerful, if imperfect, tool.

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Positive Visualization: Does It Help to Talk to Your Ailing Body? by Sarah Safford

Nowadays, with super high tech imaging and flexible mini microscopes that explore and photograph our insides, it’s pretty easy to visualize our physiology. We can picture what we are made of and how our bodies are working, or not working, in extreme close up detail.  This is useful for doctors and scientists, and for the rest of us, it can be terrifying or fun, or both simultaneously.  

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Comics, Neural Plasticity and the Artistic Temperament: A Reflection by Eugenia G. Amor

Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain”.

This quote reminds me the concept of neural plasticity, which I have explored within my comic “Gray Matter” in the Fall 2016 Intima, a phenomena leveraged by surgeons and researchers in order to achieve a more extensive resection of gliomas without damaging functional areas of the brain. 

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