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MUSE - Medical Humanities Section Newsletter – Winter 2016

After The Assembly 2015 (Special Edition)

 


Editor’s Notes

Greetings from the Section of Medical Humanities!  We hope you had a happy & joyous holiday season. 

We are pleased to bring you the winter 2016 issue of MUSE, our newsletter. This “special” edition features the winners of our annual writing contest and visual arts contest, as well as some of the other outstanding entries from each category. This year we received an unprecedented number of entries in each category. There were 18 in the writing category and 17 in the visual arts category. The awards were announced officially at the ACEP Scientific Assembly in Boston this past October.

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The Viral Hospital

Rubber boots crush gravel underfoot. The generators drone in the background, languid bees in an artificial honeycomb of hospital.

Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone is a hospital that has slowly morphed into a complex series of wooden skeleton-, metal clad-, and tarpaulin-covered buildings connected by hand-chipped rough gravel in defiance of its surroundings. No building rises to a second story, but the contrast of the complex to its verdant green jungle surrounding is stark, especially when viewed from above and afar.

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Latin and Medicine

Language is the cornerstone of our ability to communicate as humans and underlies the prose of our medical discourse. The words we select can be indicative of our background, training, and intentions. It should come as no surprise that a robust knowledge of one’s own language is essential to good communication between patient, physician, and colleague. As a vehicle towards this end, I chose to begin studying Latin during my third year of medical school and you will find this work to be a prolonged love letter to its use, though its elder, Greek, should never be discounted.

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Train Tracks

(This poem is intended to bring to life the inner turmoil and conflict that so many of us live with on a daily basis, day in and day out, as we see so many patients with chronic, preventable diseases visit our emergency department in duress. It is a humanitarian piece reflecting the emotional conflict to which we all stand witness.)  

Shaman. Apothecary. Healer.
Medicine man. Physician.
I have many names.

Understanding of this art is held to the inner society:
“Lay” explanations can elude me often.

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Train Wreck

I run down the tracks between metal rails that converge on my goal, a distant pile of wreckage, barely visible. Nothing moves around me. On either side the flat grasslands of North Dakota lie broken only by a lone oil pumpjack, like a huge skeletal bird at the horizon. I am diminished by the sky. Behind me the massive passenger train idles, arrested suddenly on its westward pursuit. I can just make out the shape of a crumpled truck lying half off the track where a country road crosses. “I think it’s bad,” the conductor had said. I expect to find a crushed body in the twisted metal.

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Travels With Lourdes

PaintingMaribel-LourdesFor anyone who has lost a loved one, there are certain times of year that are particularly difficult. In early September, I always miss my aunt Lourdes. But in looking through some old photographs, I am reminded that we had the best adventures. We traveled to eighteen countries together, seeing such sights as Machu Picchu, the Pyramids of Giza, Meteora, Uluru, and the Galapagos Islands. She often indulged my interest in art as I dragged her to many museums. In the hour we had in Milan, I insisted that we go halfway across the city to see The Last Supper.

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Confessions of a Would-Be Nocturnist

“Hope it’s not too busy.”

I smile and kiss my well-meaning husband goodbye, the man who has just cursed my night. In fact, I was swamped all night. It was the equivalent of the “Q word.” First rule of the emergency department: never talk about how “quiet” it is. We all know too well Newton’s law of the ED: for every moment of calm, there is an equal and opposite hellfire of activity. Straight out of Field of Dreams, if you acknowledge it, they will come.

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Letter from the Chair

BaruchI’m an unabashed process geek, a pushover for books or talks by creative people who view the world, and approach their work, through a fresh lens. As a writer, I’m a sap for books by writers on the practice of writing. Lately, I’ve been returning to a book called On Writing by Stephen King. Yes, that Stephen King. I meant to only dip in and out of certain sections, but his voice is so honest and inviting that I found myself turning each page again from the beginning.

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STEMI Boats

STEMI Boats

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Ode to Netter

Ode to Netter

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Migraine Scotomata

Migraine

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Holga

Holga

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2015 Annual Section Meeting Minutes

The Medical Humanities Section held its annual meeting in Boston in October 2015. The meeting minutes are available to the members.

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