It was 1991, during the summer between my first and second years of medical school. I was in the basement of a Christian clinic in Times Square. The clinic provided free medical care for homeless people in New York City. I was filling up a tub with warm soapy water so one of our homeless clients could soak his feet.
Summer had finally emerged and we were sitting out on my front steps, enjoying the afternoon heat and watching some of the other kids play out on the street. Some of the teenagers were casually tossing a football around, throwing it high and watching it bounce among the electrical wires, tree branches, and car windows […]
I am not exactly sure of what prompted me to do it, but I began keeping a tally of all the pronouncements I have done. A pronouncement is that act in which a doctor officially declares a person to be dead. Some deaths are theatric spectacles involving beeping monitors, electric shocks, and cracking chest cartilage. […]
I watched the grainy, blocky video in silence. My friend was singing “Landslide” and I felt a certain tautness in my eyebrows and a peculiar heaviness in the corners of my mouth. By now it had become a familiar feeling, this physical expression of sorrow. Can the child within my heart rise above Can I sail […]
Medical school is mostly boring and the parts that are not are often tragic, which is why few people write about the experience. Prospects facing newly-minted residents and attendings are not much better, as the overwhelming secularization of a discipline once seen as divine has fueled financial exploitation, divisive politics, and increasing frustration, cynicism, and […]