Archive | May 2014

Humanism in Medicine

They throw this phrase at the med students a lot. 

Yesterday we had a full 8 hours of mind-numbing lectures. At lunch time my friend Colby got a phone call from her mom that a cousin had passed away. She was bawling, confused, and basically needed to get the hell out of there. Our other friends and I marched her down the stairs to tell the course coordinator that she wouldn’t be at the last 4 hours of class. Easy, right? A family member dies, you leave work/school/whatever. 

The course coordinator told her that she was free to go, but since it was “just a cousin” (her exact words, I was eaves dropping) who had passed she told Colby that she would have to forfeit her points for attendance. See, if you go to every lecture for the rotation we’re on you get a free 3 points on the overall course grade. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but could easily make the difference between pass or fail. So…. cool, not only did this woman just belittle Colby’s grief she’s hanging her grade over her head.

I WAS LIVID. AND HORRIFIED. In every course there is emphasis on “teaching” us to be professional, empathetic, and compassionate towards our patients. Then why are we treated like this when we want to be actual humans??

I had a similar experience 2 years ago when one of Michael’s childhood friends passed away suddenly. I was in a required lab when he called me tell me that I needed to come to the hospital. I told the course director (big boss) that I had a critically ill friend and was leaving to be with his friends and family. I was told that I would receive zero credit for the work I had done that day. No problem, I told him, I had somewhere more important to be. 

I can understand not being able to leave if someone’s life is at stake, or you’re in the operating room, or really anything to do with patient care. What I can’t understand is being so insensitive to our lives outside of school. We recently got an email that one of the acceptable reasons to miss a day of 4th year was “death of self” and you better provide immediate notification. Real life, it’s in writing. 

This is just one more experience that will shape my future. I’ve had countless awesome role models over the last 3 years and I can already see myself modeling some of their behaviors. I’ll just add these little mishaps to the pile of things I DON’T want to be when I’m in the leadership role.

Deep thoughts for my first post in awhile! (I’m such a slacker) Look forward to some posts on Milo’s big adventures! Teaser: He goes to doggie daycare now and one time they had to lock him in a closet for bad behavior.