Tag Archives: Doctors Patients and Diseases

Not-so-natural history

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Photo by Anthony Papagiannis Physicians learn about chronic disease by watching its natural history and attempting to modify it with therapies. Cardiologists record episodes of ischemic disease, oncologists follow the progression of malignancies, and pulmonologists note changes in respiratory function over time. When patients are first seen, the disease is […]

“Do I look gay to you?”

Elena Hill New York, USA   Joaquim, Refugee, Tijuana 2020. Richard Hill. When I first went to Tijuana to the US-Mexican border to volunteer as a physician, I was expecting to see women fleeing abuse, men escaping gang violence, and families pursuing a better life. I was not expecting to see a large LGBTQ population. […]

Cloaked in white

Stacey Maslow Framingham, Massachusetts, United States   Photo courtesy of the author Darkness envelops me. A sliver of light peeks beneath the door from the world beyond the hospital room. Through the window hilled silhouettes stand silent before a veiled black backdrop. My mind wanders to the image of morning in the town just waking […]

Thriving in the face of uncertainty

Sally Mather Chris Millard Ian Sabroe Sheffield, England   The experience of uncertainty has appeared as a frequent narrative in articles, autobiographies, and memoirs written by doctors over the last century. A persistent belief that better training, tests, evidence, and pathways will reduce uncertainty has not been borne out in the experience of contemporary clinicians. […]

My very own back pain

Andrew Bamji Rye, East Sussex, UK   Illustration by Claude Serre. As a rheumatologist, now retired, I spent a good portion of my working life dealing with patients who had back pain. I reckoned over the course of thirty-three years in the specialty that I had back pain largely nailed. I developed an algorithm which […]

Learning about children

Canon Brodar Miami, Florida, United States   The Infant Hercules, ca. 1785–89. Sir Joshua Reynolds, British. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, Surdna Fund. I began my first clinical rotation excited but fearful. Medical students are taught about pediatric pathology and developmental milestones, but nothing about working with children and their families. I had heard […]

Great expectations

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Summer Calm—image by the author “Doctor, I want you to treat her as a forty-year old!” What is the appropriate answer to a demand like that from a daughter about the treatment of her eighty-eight-year-old mother? Any suggestion that her mother might not do well even with the best treatment […]

The Plague and physician burnout

Geoffrey Rubin Mark Abrams D. Edmund Anstey New York, New York, United States   [Bedside scenes: Doctors visit patient]. 1534. The National Library of Medicine. In Albert Camus’ novel The Plague,1 Doctor Rieux is a consummate physician, a hero and a “true healer.” His main charge is to compassionately perform his duty—a matter, in his […]

A dog like that

Rebecca Osborn New Haven, Connecticut, United States   An Old Man with a Dog. Giacomo Ceruti. 1740s. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “You ever seen a dog like that?” I smile and shake my head. Tony sips his black coffee, his eyes lingering on the open doorway. “What a dog. What a beautiful dog. Most […]

Good patient, good doctor

Lealani Mae Acosta Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Illustration by Lealani Mae Y. Acosta What makes a “good” patient? What makes a “good” doctor? I am a cognitive behavioral neurologist who specializes in dementia. I relish the longitudinal relationship I have with patients and appreciate hearing them say with pride, “Dr. Acosta is MY doctor.” Being someone’s […]