Medicine, Art, & Ambiguity

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The Pain of Childhood Illness. Dr. Jaswant Guzder painted her son’s experiences during his treatment for aplastic anemia at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. The painting was part of the 2016 Journeys Through Health exhibition via Art that heals McGill Med-E News.

“A growing body of research suggests that early exposure to art interpretation in medical education may in fact increase students’ ability to tolerate ambiguity. The educational approach known as Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) involves group discussion of art images where learners are encouraged to carefully observe pieces, verbalise their personal interpretations, and interact with their peers’ viewpoints while affirming the co-existence of multiple possible meanings. Research suggests that tolerance for ambiguity is a ‘state’ not a ‘trait.’ This means that our ability to admit uncertainty—whether in art or in medicine—can be taught, and that programmes such as VTS may help us to hone these skills.”

It’s not all black and white––can art help doctors navigate medical uncertainty? by Olson via the BMJ Opinion.

Groupon for Medical Services

“Doctors online expressed shock and dismay after realizing that patients are using Groupon deals to access medical services, such as chest CT scans and mammograms, at discount rates, according to a report by Kaiser Health News.

The deals—which have actually been around for years—cover things like elective medical services, dental work, eye care, and preventative scans, such as mammograms. They’re often used by people who do not have health insurance or have limited coverage. Still, some insured patients turn to them for cost-saving deals, more pricing transparency, and control over their healthcare bills. Without the coupons, the same services provided by some hospitals and providers can have wildly varied pricing, which can be nearly impossible to estimate in advance.

Still, there are risks to using the deals, such as getting medically unnecessary scans, which expose patients to radiation needlessly and can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests or procedures.

‘If you’re going to have any type of medical testing done, I would make sure you discuss it with your primary care provider or practitioner,” Dr. Andrew Bierhals cautioned to KHN.'”

More on Doctors aghast at Groupon deals for medical care via arstechnica.

Climate Change Toolkit

climate.jpeg“This toolkit consists of eight modules which have been prepared as stand-alone documents that can be read by themselves, but they have also been prepared to complement one another. It has been designed as a tool for health professionals and students in the health care and public health sectors who want to engage more directly on the issue of climate change as educators with their patients, peers and communities, and/or as advocates for the policies, programs and practices needed to mitigate climate change and/or prepare for climate change in their workplaces and communities.” Download here!

#ClimateChangeToolkit #HealthProfessionals

B.C. Ends Birth Alert System

“British Columbia will no longer ask hospitals to alert child-welfare authorities if they believe newborns could be at risk of harm due to their parents’ backgrounds, a practice that resulted in more than half of such notifications being issued for Indigenous mothers.

The B.C. government on Monday said it would end this practice, known as birth alerts, which were often issued without a parent’s knowledge or consent. The policy change is aimed at cutting the number of newborns who are taken into care, sometimes within hours of birth.

The change is to take effect immediately.”

More on B.C. ends controversial birth alert system that affected Indigenous mothers disproportionately via The Globe and Mail.

Bit by Bit

“You do not need to solve your entire life in a day. You do not need to fix everything tonight. You do not need to, nor will you be able to. So instead of feeling as though the mountain in front of you is so huge you could never scale it and give up entirely, just focus on taking one step. All you need to do today is take one step in the right direction, and then tomorrow take another. Your life is not transformed in one sweeping motion, it is changed bit by bit, ordinary moment by ordinary moment, when you decide to stop waiting for perfection, and start doing what you can right here and right now to move yourself forward.”

~ Brianna Wiest

AMEE Research Grants 2019

“The International Association for Medical Education (AMEE) Research Grant Awards provide financial support up to £10,000 for educational research projects open to AMEE Individual and Student Members.

The programme recognises the importance of research in health professions education and serves as a catalyst to promote excellence in research among AMEE members.  The receipt of a grant award will serve to recognize both locally and internationally the work of an individual or group.

The submission of pre-proposals are invited to be submitted by 17 October 2019.  Submissions received after this date will not be considered for the current grant funding cycle.  Further information and the application form can be downloaded from the AMEE website.

Applicants will be informed of the decision on their proposal by mid December 2019.

Those invited to submit a full proposal will be sent an application form to be completed and returned by 22 February 2020.”

Chasing My Cure

“I think that our medical structure is set up such that there are people that play various roles, and there are hierarchies and there are ways that things are done. I was already getting entrenched into that hierarchy. It really took a lot to make me really try to take control over my own future. I still didn’t feel like I could make a difference. It wasn’t until I had no more options and everything had kind of failed that I felt I needed to do this.”

~ Dr. David Fajgenbaum

“Dr. David Fajgenbaum has nearly died not once, but five times. The cause each time was a rare disorder called Castleman disease, an affliction on the boundary between cancer and an autoimmune disorder. It caused his entire body to swell up. Previously a muscled college football player, he first became bloated, then very thin.

Fajgenbaum, who was in medical school when he got sick, did something extraordinary. He founded a patient advocacy group, the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network. But more than that, he delved into the science of his disease, and proposed the treatment that, after five relapses, has kept him healthy since. It was an existing drug, sirolimus, that no one had thought to use for Castleman disease. Football, he said, helped him deal with the failure inherent in medical research.”

More on After nearly dying five times, a young doctor learned to treat himself. Now he wants to help others with rare disease by Matthew Herper via STAT.