Tag Archives: empathy

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Kayla Simms is a Psychiatry Resident (R1) at McMaster University who graduated from medical school at the University of Ottawa in 2017

 

Compartmentalization is to medical knowledge as bread is to butter: patients, divided into sub-types; the body, separated by systems; the physician, detached from the pain.

Or so I once thought.

In medical school, I walked into patients’ rooms and stood idly at the bedside, intimately embedding myself into the darkest spaces of strangers’ lives. The bedside, like a carpenter’s work bench, is where I mastered concepts of sound and touch: the absence of bowel sounds auscultated in an obstructed state. The warmth of inflammation against the back of my hand.

The bedside is where I grew accustomed to asking questions like, “How is your pain today?” and learned to de-humanize the experience with the help of a 10-point scale. ...continue reading

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Mary KoziolMary Koziol
McGill University
Class of 2018

I notice him several times as I hurry past, wondering to myself what his story could be. He’s quite an old man, at least in his 80s. From a distance, I see two bulging black eyes, his face a mess of dripping blood. He’s observing the hustle of the ER with the expression of an accidental spectator at a cricket match: curious, but evidently a bit lost. I read the chart as I stride towards him: tripped and fell forward onto his face. Lives alone in a retirement home. On blood thinners.

...continue reading