Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Crosses to bear

Although these 3 stories are incredibly sad, they serve to
illustrate the realities of this imperfect world – and how heavy some “crosses”
are for people.  We should count our
blessings when things go right for us, and reach out to those who are suffering
in unimaginable ways…

From Hallway Four:  A
40 year old woman was seen for difficulty breathing and eventually diagnosed
with pneumonia and fluid-overload secondary to need for dialysis.  This
lovely lady had been diagnosed recently with kidney cancer of her right kidney
and had undergone nephrectomy (removal of the diseased kidney).
Ordinarily, this would still have left her with one good kidney, which is all
you need.  But, as luck would have it, this lady had donated her left
kidney to her ailing sister three years prior.

From Charity Doc: A father of a 7 y/o little boy brings him
into the ED last night reporting that his mother’s boyfriend had beaten him
black and blue with a belt, an assertion that the mother did not deny. The couple had
been divorced for a little over a year. On physical exam, the little boy had
indeed not been spared the rod at all. His buttocks and back were ecchymotic,
black and blue with scattered scabbed marks from numerous whippings and
beatings. It was unbelievable.  [Child
protective services ruled that the child should go home with the mother
because] the mother has legal custody of the kid and we can’t send him home
with his father.

From a story relayed at a Rehabilitation Medicine
: A set of conjoined twins were born fused at the hip.  They were sickly, sharing a circulatory
system that was insufficient to serve both of their needs.  The doctors had to make an educated guess as
to how to dissect the two apart from one another – there was only one set of
male genitals, and three legs.  They
carefully studied the anatomy and decided to part the twins, giving the
healthier appearing one two legs and the genitalia, leaving the other with only
one leg and no genitals.  Several weeks
after the surgery the first twin (with the 2 legs) died.  The second twin is still alive, is in his 20’s,
and has been in and out of jail for drug trafficking.

Makes our own problems seem pretty trivial, doesn’t it?

This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

You may also like these posts

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »