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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Reaching for the Humanity in Someone

For John, BLUFWhoever they are, they are a brother or sister.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Yorker, by Dr Atul Gawande, 2 June 2018.

The following was delivered as the commencement address at U.C.L.A. Medical School on Friday, June 1st.
Here is the lede plus one:
I want to start with a story.  One night, on my surgery rotation, during my third year of medical school, I followed my chief resident into the trauma bay in the emergency department.  We’d been summoned to see a prisoner who’d swallowed half a razor blade and slashed his left wrist with the corner of the crimp on a toothpaste tube.  He was about thirty, built like a boxer, with a tattooed neck, hands shackled to the gurney, and gauze around his left wrist showing bright crimson seeping through.

The first thing out of his mouth was a creepy comment about the chief resident, an Asian-American woman.  I won’t say what he said.  Just know he managed in only a few words to be racist, sexist, and utterly menacing to her.  She turned on her heels, handed me the clipboard, and said, “He’s all yours.”

And Dr Gawande stepped up.

I am no Saint Francis of Assisi, prepared to kiss a leper's open sores, but I admire his understanding of his duty as a physician and a human.  Thank you, Dr Gawande.

Regards  —  Cliff

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