This blog engages with the politics and ethics of health, healing, and nature. We believe in collective care that is healing, affordable, and accessible to all. If you would like to learn more about social justice or plant medicine, then these articles are a great place to start.
Somewhere around December's new moon I began noticing a sensation in my tongue and my ears whenever I took notice of the beloved Linden in the front yard. The Linden had revealed its human-esque face in its bark to me only a few weeks prior but I wasn't expecting our communication to go any deeper. What could be more intimate than revealing a hidden face?
My past year has been filled with so many amazing plant encounters that it's difficult to believe that I lived with my attention focused anywhere else over my 30 year lifetime.
I grew up in a largely white, middle-class, suburban community on Long Island, so training at SUNY Downstate was a welcomed experience of checking my own privilege, power, and biases. I directly experienced how neither wealth nor health are random. Race and gender matter, as does the imperialist and capitalist history of medicine in the US.
President-elect Trump has promised to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or ACA for short. The legislation expanded insurance coverage to millions of Americans, and perhaps more significantly, symbolizes our right as Americans citizens to access to affordable healthcare. Obama is pleading with physicians to stand up.
“Get a med student,” someone said. The chief looked at me with restrained optimism as she nominated me to convert this alleged miscreant to an obedient, trusting patient. Be careful, “This one’s got AIDS.”
It began in the middle of America when two years ago God told her, let’s pretend her name is Mary, that she must “seek medical care.” Mary had just finishing packing her groceries into the car when out of nowhere she heard a voice that she recognized as God. The voice told her that she needed medical attention. God didn’t tell her why, but only that she needed it. Mary had faith in her creator, so she moved across the country with her daughter to her sister’s apartment to find the best medicine that she could afford.
Under the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program from 2005 to 2011, more than 1.4 million patients undergoing surgery at US hospitals were observed to see if lengthier surgery durations would affect the risk of developing a blood clot, or venous thromboembolism (VTE). We’ve known that being bound to a hospital bed (common after surgery) is a risk factor for VTEs, but this is the first evidence that surgery duration is a risk factor as well.
As of this morning almost 102,000 Americans were waiting for a kidney. If that number doesn’t strike you, then consider that this number is 1/3 of the total number of kidneys ever transplanted in the United States.
An interesting paradigm is developing in the vaccine literature between specific and non-specific effects of vaccination. Specific vaccine effects give disease protection and are independent of the order in which vaccines are given. Non-specific effects refer to the effects a vaccine might have on the overall immune system, which seems to depend on the order of vaccination.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), known affectionately as Obamacare, promises to insure more, spend less, and achieve better health for all. As one of many medical students who takes care of the uninsured, I have been brainstorming ways to help our patients enroll in New York’s health care exchange. What hadn’t occurred to me is that our patients might opt for our free student-run clinic services instead of coverage under the ACA.