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Tag: frustration with healthcare system

Two Timelines

Debi Santini

Timeline One

Day 1: For over thirty-five years my strong, spirited spouse, Carlo, served around the world in the Air Force. Now retired from the military, he still serves at the air base as a civilian security police officer.

His neck hurts. A lot. He blames the pain on the unbalanced weight of the bulletproof vest that Uncle Sam added last year to the uniform he proudly wears every day.

Even though

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Bitter Medicine

Karen Libertoff Harrington

As a medical educator in a hospital setting, I often tell first-year medical students about disparities in health care and about the vastly different quality of care that hospitals deliver, depending on their resources. 

I tell my students how important it is to advocate for patients, to learn to navigate the healthcare system and to work respectfully with health professionals in order to get

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Missing Piece

Ray Bingham

I entered the hospital by a back door. It was evening. As I walked down the quiet corridors, their cinder-block walls, green paint, tiled floors and soft fluorescent lighting granted me a superficial sense of familiarity: I’d walked these halls countless times over the last five years.

Now, however, I also felt a bit apprehensive. I was

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Five Years to a Cure

Ellen Diamond

Recently, while reading a post in an online chat group for people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), I spotted an intriguing comment. At an important conference, a world-renowned hematologist had referred to a “five-year timeline” for a cure.

This took me back fourteen years, to when I’d just been diagnosed with CLL. There was a Gilda’s Club

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Cadaver Happy Face

Rachel Willis

Sitting with my mother in a white-walled exam room, awaiting the surgeon’s arrival, I felt happy. 

Earlier this spring, I’d landed hard on one leg during a volleyball game and collapsed, hearing my knee make a terrible cracking sound, like all ten knuckles firing off. When I resumed playing, after several weeks of rehab, it happened again. 

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Cold Comfort

Mary T. Shannon

Leaning against the hospital bed’s cold metal rails, I gazed down at my husband lying flat on his back. Under the harsh fluorescent ceiling lights, his olive skin looked almost as pale as mine. 

We’d been in the outpatient unit since 6:00 am for what was supposedly a simple procedure–a right-heart catheterization to assess the blood

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Cracking the Code

Zohar Lederman

I am a medical student in Pavia, Italy, doing my fifth year out of six. It is summertime, and, as I’ve done every summer for years, I’ve returned to my small hometown in the south of Israel. There, among other things, I volunteer as an emergency medical technician (EMT) with Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross. 

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Crafting My Own Safety Net

Nicola Holmes

As I guide my car through the evening traffic, I feel tears on my cheeks.

I am a doctor who plans ahead: I write out plans for my patients. This has led to my nickname, “Plan Doctor.”

Each of my consultations is carefully crafted in separate steps. The conclusion is laid out in my own neat copperplate

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Are You a Doctor?

Margaret Kim Peterson

“Are you a doctor?” 

I am sitting by my husband’s hospital bed in the surgical admission ward, where he is being prepped for surgery to close a severe pressure ulcer on his left ischium, the knob on the pelvis where your weight rests when you sit. 

Dwight was eighteen when an illness damaged his spinal cord,

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Babel: The Voices of a Medical Trauma

Tricia Pil

 Editor’s Note: This week, on the eve of Pulse‘s second anniversary, we offer a remarkable piece. It is the true story of a hospitalization as told from three points of view: first, the recollections of the patient (who happens to be a physician); second, events as recorded in the medical charts by doctors and nurses; and third, the

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Late Again

Paul Gross

One thing I love deeply about being a family doctor is that I get to take care of people–body and soul. A patient comes into my exam room with a litany of physical symptoms (“My shoulder…my knee…my stomach…so tired…this nausea…”) and then, in response to a questioning look, suddenly bursts into tears.

It’s all mine to deal with. The shoulder. The stomach. The tears. I get to gather the pieces and see if

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Looking for Respect

Ashrei Bayewitz

This may sound strange, but I secretly looked forward to my colonoscopy.

I was excited to see the people in the colonoscopy suite–the receptionists, the nurses and my doctor. I knew that they would like me, because I would be brave and respectful. That’s what’s always happened since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease ten years ago. During my multiple colonoscopies and countless doctor visits and other outpatient procedures, I invariably build up

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