The Tiger in the Waiting Room–Addressing Moral Stress in Medicine

Jane Desmond, Ph.D. // Is our medical training, medical practice, and our research in the health humanities adequately recognizing and responding to moral stress?  Are some populations, specialties, or jobs within healthcare more likely to experience it? [How] can we imagine future systems of care that alleviate this type of stress among practitioners?

A Model for Humble Commitment in Medicine

Vishesh Jain // Ostensibly, Wintersmith is a novel about witches. It follows young Tiffany Aching as she works as an apprentice and learns how to manage the vast and unexpected responsibilities of witchcraft. The reader, like Tiffany, may expect magic spells and supernatural phenomena to fill her life, but these constitute a fraction of her…

Pain is complex. We should treat it that way.

Steve Server// “What sort of pain is it?” Often, when health care providers inquire after patients’ pain, we get a sort of flummoxed look.  In response, we sometimes get a confused chuckle. As first year medical students, we are trained to differentiate sorts of pain: crampy vs. electrical/burning; dull vs. sharp; localized vs. radiating.  As our medical…

Cultivating Life After Death

Avril Tynan // “Death is not an event in life,” wrote philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in the early 20th century, “We do not live to experience death” (6.4311). Of course, Wittgenstein could not know that 100 years later we would be living through a pandemic, but if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that death…

Narrative Medicine Spring Basic Virtual Workshop: A Brief Reflection

Amala Poli // On March 19th, I began attending a three-day Basic Narrative Medicine (NM) Workshop. Like much else in academia during the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshop was held virtually via Zoom sessions. Having attended panels and conferences in the last year on Zoom, I wondered about how this would translate the experience of being…

Measures of success

Madeleine Mant // Tell me what the measurement is. Tell me why the measurement is important. Ask if it’s okay with me that you take this measurement. I teach Laboratory Methods in Biological Anthropology, an undergraduate course divided into three units: dietary recall and analysis, anthropometry (measurements and proportions of the human body), and accelerometry…

Against the Return to Normal: Trauma and Human Sociality

Bojan Srbinovski // The past three months have given people in the United States good reasons for cautious optimism. After a disastrous winter season that saw the number of recorded cases of COVID-19 rise over 300,000 per day and the total number of deaths exceed half a million people, the pandemic and the country seem…

Hope on Trial

Sarah Roth // My parents shared a broad, brown desk in their home office. In the years of my mother’s struggle with ovarian cancer, a foot of papers, envelopes, and printouts were stacked on the desk, documenting clinical trials for which she might be eligible. For a time, the desk, with its thick layer of…