Mei Wen is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Toronto
Last week, I was at the eye clinic at a downtown hospital as a medical student learning about ophthalmology. This week, I was there as a patient. And although I was at the exact same clinic only one week later, the contrast between these experiences couldn't be greater.
My first astounding realization as a patient was that there was a sign advertising the wait time to be one to four hours — despite the fact that this was a booked appointment. I am ashamed to say that as a medical student on the the other side, ...continue reading →
Noren Khamis is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of British Columbia
Long before starting medical school, I wondered how I would react to the first sight of a cadaver in the gross anatomy laboratory. I was comforted by the fact that when the time came, I would have sufficient warning, guidance, and—of course—preparation. But as often happens in life, situations do not go according to plan. Above and beyond mastering basic anatomy knowledge, those long days down in the cadaver lab taught me that I was truly unprepared to deal so intimately with death. ...continue reading →
Sarah Chauvin is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Toronto
Collateral. Collateral. Collateral. Three weeks in a psychiatric Emergency Department, and I have more than a mere appreciation for collateral: I’ve come to understand it as a key diagnostic investigation.
Toward the end of my weekend call shift, my young patient with severe alcohol use disorder and borderline personality disorder — who had been discharged the week prior with an addictions referral — was back in the ED for alcohol intoxication. Though I had been cautioned that the patient would likely return, I was disappointed to see her name back on the patient-tracking list. ...continue reading →
Jonathan Oore is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Dalhousie University
Symmetry is integral to life on earth. So too is asymmetry. The human body’s organization contains basic pairs of coexisting structures: ears, lungs, lips, spinal nerves, testes, kidneys, eyes, nostrils, chromosomes, muscles, legs, cerebral hemispheres and eyebrows. Sometimes they are only theoretically symmetric. They can be practically sick… or not really. They’re reflections. But not entirely. ...continue reading →
Prasham Dave is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Ottawa
Sunken eyes my burden and a blazing smile my shield,
My patient burned under baleful fluorescence—purified en blanc.
My breaths were shallow. His shallower still.
I was haggard and he was in shambles,
I was shuffling and he was frozen,
I was ash and he was a husk. ...continue reading →
Sondos Zayed is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at McGill University
Time and time again residents tend to give us, medical students, the same piece of invaluable advice: stay humble.
On one occasion, a resident said: “When you’re on the wards, seeing one case after the next and making diagnoses, you’ll feel like a god. That’s dangerous. So stay humble.”
I failed to understand how it was even possible, as a first-year medical student who knows so little of the vast ocean that constitutes the art and science of medicine, for me to become arrogant. I simply couldn’t make any sense of it. How could I, in so little time, accumulate enough knowledge to be not only confident — but to exceed this and reach a stage of arrogance? It took time and much ...continue reading →
“Medical professionals concentrate on repair of health, not sustenance of the soul”.
Atul Gawande’s recently published book, Being Mortal, discusses the treatment of our elderly population and the various flaws of our health care system. One important point from the book is that health care providers such as physicians and nurses are too focused on physical well-being while forgetting about the less tangible necessities of life.
When an elderly individual is sent to a nursing home, safety is the highest priority. Residents are provided with call bells, ramps, elevators, nurses, and physicians who come directly to their rooms. This seems beneficial, as physical health is maintained. With 24 hour nursing surveillance and living in single rooms, residents are less prone to injuring themselves. It is a situation that seems optimal for both the caregivers and seniors. Why, then, is the rate of depression and sadness so high among the elderly population in nursing homes?