Covid-19: Reframing Ageing

Anne Fuchs, Desmond O’Neill, Mary Cosgrove, and Julia Langbein // Report on the Interdisciplinary Webinar, University College Dubin, 12 June 2020 Introduction The Covid-19 crisis gave rise to stories of sickness and resilience, unemployment and solidarity, death and hope.  But from among these stories, the discourse on older people has been among the most controversial…

Glossier No More: Following the Leadership of Retail Workers

Bojan Srbinovski // Things are happening at Glossier, the cosmetics giant famous for its millennial pink brand palette and its repeatedly stated goal to “democratize beauty.” A recent open letter published by a group called Outta the Gloss, a collective of former Glossier retail employees, indicates that these workers, whom Glossier calls “offline editors,” were…

Beyond Survival: Quality of Life in Oncology

Steve Server // Cancer is conceptually as well-circumscribed as a tumor feels when you palpate it under the skin during a routine exam.  Its hardness imprints itself upon your sensorium, and then upon your psyche, as you feel the burden of the unpleasant truth that must soon make itself known.  Dense, solid, almost like a…

Field Notes from the Classroom: Interdisciplinary Teaching and Communities of Curiosity

Travis Chi Wing Lau // This morning, I had the joy of attending a workshop with the growing Science and Nature Writing initiative at Kenyon College. During this interdisciplinary conversation, we discussed different approaches to pedagogy at multiple levels of undergraduate teaching: integrating a writing component into an intermediate science course, creative writing that interwove…

Rethinking the Language of Cancer Diagnosis

Steffi Mac // Recently, I was introduced to a young doctor who had survived cancer and who is now working on Covid-19 duty. I wanted to interview her in order to present her narrative in my online initiative for cancer survivors, The Marrow Story. I was also trying to understand the health care system of…

Narrative Humility or Empathy?

Marcus Mosley // In healthcare, there has been much debate about the role empathy plays in patient-doctor communication, and whether it can and should be taught to medical students. Narrative Medicine has “not found empathy to be a useful term” and claims empathy to be “a misguided assumption that one can enter into or know…

The Ethics of Feeding Tube Placement in Patients with Advanced Dementia

Joyeeta G. Dastidar // Dementia and the Loss of Descartes’s Attributes of the Soul One of the many disease processes physicians witness is what becomes of the body of someone with advanced dementia. Over time, there is a loss of many of the “attributes of the soul” René Descartes lists in his second meditation on…

Grief at a Distance

Sarah Roth // This week marks the anniversary of my mother’s death, and my family had planned to gather at her gravesite in Florida. For the past year, her plot has remained unmarked: a rectangle of grass with a hint of a pale line at its edges. We had spoken of unveiling the gravestone, attending a service to recognize her Yahrzeit, and coming together for a week of shared feeling and mourning. The past year has been measured with reference to this point, like the sign of a lighthouse marking a horizon thick with fog. Like so many other families in this season of coronavirus, as the date grew closer, our plans became ever more uncertain. Today, on her anniversary, we remain scattered across the country. Some of us are in Florida; others are in Washington or Colorado or Maryland. I write from my apartment in Baltimore, where I have hunkered down for the past months, and where I will remain for the foreseeable future.

On Penumbrae: Uncertainty in Neurology

Steve Server // You are sitting at your computer in the neurosciences work room late one evening writing a progress note when your pager buzzes.  A stroke code has been called in the Emergency Department.  You grab your reflex hammer and your tuning fork and head down to the ED.  The linoleum gives off a…

COVID-19 and the Future of Narrative Medicine

Dr. Iro Filippaki // The Covid-19 pandemic has illuminated the fact that medical culture and practice belongs to a complex system of ethics, signification, capitalist market, and political representation. This article considers how one of the pandemic’s legacies for narrative medicine might be to provide medical students with the theoretical and conceptual tools to deal…