And now Week 1

Everyone always talks about how fast time disappears. During the day (and especially when you desperately want a snack), this DEFINITELY feels absolutely false. But I already feel time slipping through my fingers.

I know I probably say it a lot, but I adore my fellow classmates! They are all so interesting and lively and friendly, and I meet someone new and interesting every day. And then, I see them again the next day, which lends itself to making friends. In college, there were so many people, that you would meet someone one day and then never see them again. So being squished all together now, it’s almost like high school, except we all want to be there. I am sure I’ll stop gushing about my classmates after a few weeks, but I am so excited about them right now!

Today marked the end of the “Art of Doctoring” lectures, and we’ll dive into biochemistry next week (crossing my fingers that my major classes have somewhat prepared me for this next month…)! I am eager to dig into the meat of M1, but I will miss this first week. Faculty, staff, visiting lecturers and clinicians, and other students dedicated every moment to making us feel welcome and a part of huge, inviting community. We weren’t inundated with material to be furiously studied. Friendships bloomed everywhere. And we discussed a lot about ethics, and the moral responsibilities of doctors. This was my cup of tea! Even though no one really wants to put it on the personal statement, this reason motivates many (most) of us to apply to medical school – the desire to help people, to be morally obligated to literally spend the rest of our lives doing as much good as possible. And even though “good” varies from person to person, I think a general consensus exists of the basic points.

It strikes me again and again, how much patience and dedication a physician needs, to care for angry or scared or even well-loved people during times of high stress in such delicate, complex ways. It’s scary to think that one day, that is what will be expected of me.

One thing that really captured my notice today was a case that is something as follows:
A young, homosexual man receives a gunshot wound. He is stabilized and sent home to be cared for there, but does not have enough money or insurance to pay for a nurse. His sister agrees to care for him. However…he is HIV+ but does not want to tell his sister because he is scared his father will find out that he is a homosexual. What are we to do?
Of course first and foremost, we want to talk to the patient and try to convince him of the necessity of letting her know. A channel of dialogue has to be made, maybe even between him and his family.
But our group looked up disclosure laws, and many states allow doctors to disclose sensitive information to third parties that may be in significant danger (so overriding confidentiality). This is called the duty to warn. At first, my reaction was indignant – why don’t all states allow for this?? But then I guess it becomes…what if the patient knew about that law, and never told even his doctor that he had HIV in the first place? This would be very dangerous to health care providers, and it would have almost certainly shutdown the chance for the patient to learn to communicate with his family.

All-in-all, it is a very grey world indeed.

For now, here’s to an eventful weekend, and more Mansfield Park!

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