Owen Dan Luo is a medical student in the Class of 2023 at McGill University. He is also a committee member on the Health and Environment Adaptive Response Task force (HEART) of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS).
On inspection, we would observe her febrile state,
As heat waves grow stronger and longer,
With her body covered with painful, red blisters,
As wildfires rage unrestrained over her epidermis.
On palpation, we’d run our hands along her prominent rib borders,
Cachexic wasting from malignant clumps of plastic waste in her oceans.
With clear signs of respiratory distress,
Trapped underneath a cloak of greenhouse gases – she gasps for air.
On percussion, we would detect dull notes at her lung bases
As her lungs – the Amazon rainforest – fail to respire.
With bibasilar crackles – edematous,
As engorged seas overwhelm her coasts.
On auscultation, we would hear a grade VI/VI murmur,
As melting glaciers crash into her oceans.
With a blatantly palpable thrill –
From footfalls of evacuating inhabitants displaced by extreme weather.
We don our white coats,
Carefully examining each of our patients
But we need to also pay attention –
To our wounded planet’s pained expression.
Would we sit still and look the other way –
If we had saw, heard and felt those signs of incoming squalls?
Just as multi-systemic disease requires teamwork to be kept at bay,
Our ill Earth requires care from us all.