As I look back on the first year of this blog and reflect on my four years of medical school, I am amazed at how much I have learned and how much I have seen. All of it has informed what I have written about here on Practicing Medicine. And many of the issues I have raised remain vital to my experience within the hospital. Medicine forces physicians to ask questions; questions beyond which IV fluids to give or which antibiotic to use. Medicine demands that we ask the same questions that any student of human history might ask: What makes us human? What is so humorous about human suffering and pain? Why do we become numb to human forms of suffering? What is the process by which we die? And is it dignified? How should we view the place of the mentally ill in our society?
I have also made other, perhaps less broad and less grand, attempts at explicating the practice of medicine. My first post explained why I decided to blog and the awkward place of medical students within the medical field. This piece discussed the potent smells of the hospital — they are unavoidable and yet we adjust to them. Stepping into the ED for the very first time, I explained how a trauma code works and the horrors that trauma patients face. The kidney-failure patient also faces difficulties, but they are of a chronic nature due to dialysis, a miracle of modern science with its own drawbacks.
I compared George Orwell’s experiences in a French hospital in the early twentieth century to my own experiences in a hospital in the early twenty-first; yes, there are major differences, but there are also similarities. This is a pragmatic post on how we ought to think about scientific studies and evidence-based medicine. I have written about depression and schizophrenia. And, in a more recent post that would have pleased me greatly as a younger reader, I wrote about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s eponymous detective, Sherlock Holmes — it turns out his methods are relevant to physicians today.
Over the next year I hope to continue to write about the big questions and bring up others in relation to what I see and do. I also have a few bigger writing projects in the works, which I will mention here on the blog. If you have suggestions or comments, please feel free to send them my way. My e-mail address and Twitter handle can be found at the right.