I wrote these reflections through the past clinical year as part of a series of posts shared with classmates. We would respond to a prompt
dealing with the patient-physician relationship or a public health topic, and we would discuss together near the end of each rotation.
These sessions were one of the highlights of the year because many of us
in the group became close friends--a kind of closeness that comes with
sharing and supporting each other through what can be an odd and
beautiful and shocking place. It can be hard to preserve that naive response to navigating patient care and the healthcare system. Here are mine, shaped and made richer by my classmates', and edited with ellipses and removed names to remove identifying information.
...it seemed to me, and more so in hindsight, that attributing Ms. T's oxygen requirement as from anxiety rather than progression of disease was not just a circumstantial oversight. Particularly in women and women of color, pain is more often brushed off as psychological rather than as reflecting clinical course. I thought of all the times I had gone into her room to play music while helping her wean off oxygen, and the gnawing realization that I was complicit in the biases. She's now in the MICU and no longer intubated, and we're hoping for a course of recovery onward.