Humanities at the Bedside

Boundaries - Session C

The Steel Windpipe, Mikhail Bulgakov http://www.masterandmargarita.eu/estore/pdf/eben204_thesteelwindpipe.pdf  

Guiding Discussion

  1. What are the boundaries, implicit and explicit, in this story?           
  2. Was there a moment when you as an emergency medicine clinician felt particularly uncomfortable?
  3. Did the physician cross a line in this story? Would his actions be considered commendable, irresponsible or both? How is that value judgment determined?

 

Exercise: 

The physician in “The Steel Windpipe” is fresh out of training and feels unprepared for this rural practice. Scalpel in hand, faced with securing an emergency airway on a young girl, he thinks, “I went cold and my forehead broke out in a sweat. I bitterly regretted having studied medicine and having landed myself in this wilderness.” Wilderness could describe his practice setting, but how else might you describe elements of a wilderness--in literal and creative terms--in medical practice or medical training.  Have you ever had moments when you harbored thoughts of regret, or felt ill-prepared, or were struck by great uncertainty and anxiety? Take 5-10 minutes and write about a particular situation? Was it a shock? How did you respond?

 

 

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