As Emergency Physicians, unexpected deaths are part of our job. Telling families that their loved one has died does not get any easier over the years. Each time you do it, you have to remain stoic, you have to be the “rock” in the room. I often find my mind racing through pathophysiology to keep myself a little emotionally detached - sounds like a reasonable coping mechanism, right? A fatal accident or coding patient is not a loved one or a friend, but a patient with multi-system trauma or a massive MI unresponsive to treatment. This way I can compartmentalize that remaining bit of emotion so I can get through the family discussion and the rest of the day. It works most of the time.
But what happens when that patient is one of your own? A physician, a colleague, a friend?
This past weekend, the UCSF-Fresno Emergency Medicine family lost one of our own. Dr. Melissa Dowd, one of our interns, was killed after she was struck by a car while crossing the street. I had the pleasure of working with her a number of times this year and she was great - bright, full of potential, eager, loved learning, loved taking care of patients, and was just fun to be around.
But we are not invincible…we get sick, we get hurt, and sometimes so badly that we can’t be saved. We are not always stoic…we have sadness and we can feel loss.
It is times like this these that make you stop and re-evaluate. Tell your friends and families that you love them, cherish your time together. Life is random and sometimes, bad, unexpected things happen to good people, even to physicians.
Melissa, you will be missed.
Last week, Apple announced the release of the iPad mini, their new 5.3” x 7.8” answer to the growing market of smaller tablets and readers such as the Kindle Fire or Nexus 7. Since its release, I’ve received many questions as to the potential role of the mini in medical education - would its smaller size improve adoption rates, specifically in the clinical areas where the existing iPad may be too big? Or, should medical schools continue to stick with Apple or move to another device like the Kindle Fire or the Nexus 7? And possibly the most important question of all…do you have your iPad Mini yet?
Well first off…no iPad Mini yet - we purchase them through our campus computer store and our order only arrives next week. So with that in mind, this whole post may be invalidated as soon as I pick mine up. :)
Let’s look at its potential for Medical Education through the lens of the basic sciences experience and the clinical experience, since these two uses are quite different in their technology needs.
At the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine our philosophy on technology use during patient encounters is that mobile technologies, such as the iPad, are a useful patient education adjunct, though they should not distract from the purpose of the encounter. To assist in this endeavor, the iMedEd curriculum at UC Irvine has developed a list of 15 self-assessment questions to help providers better integrate mobile technology into patient encounters.
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