Things We Read and Loved: Personal Perspectives in Healthcare

April 20, 2017 Kaitlyn Whelan and Sonia Hong

People are at the heart of healthcare. This month's reads focus on personal perspectives in healthcare from both professionals and patients. Sharing lived experiences and learnings allows us all to better understand and empathize with each other. By sharing their perspectives, the authors of these insightful articles opened our eyes to their journeys.

How Behavioral Economics Can Produce Better Health Care
Dr. Dhruv Khullar, has been a physician from more than a decade. In this article he undertakes an in-depth exploration on why physicians and patients — and people in general — make the choices they do and how we can utilize this research to deliver better health care.

Illness as More than a Metaphor
In 1978, while being treated for breast cancer, Susan Sontag wrote the book, Illness as a Metaphor, where she explored the psychological effects of how we treat people with disease. In 2004, after surviving cancer twice, she succumb to  MDS. In this essay, her son, David, reflects on his mother's fight to live, her doctors' battle with what is and what is not 'medically futile' when it comes to treatment, and where research funding is most effective. It is a tough read but a beautiful ode to a strong woman and a torn healthcare system.

End Pain Forever: How a Single Gene Could Become A Volume Knob for Human Suffering
This beautifully written piece by Erika Hayasaki gives us a glimpse into the lives of different people who feel various degrees of pain — from no pain to "man on fire" syndrome. She explores the vast contrast of their everyday lives and how science is tackling the growing issue of pain relief.

The experience of bipolar disorder: a personal perspective on the impact of mood disorder symptoms
A young psychologist discusses her experience with bipolar disorder from her symptoms to diagnosis and maintenance. She reflects on how her experiences give her a deep empathy for her patients and how a strong community can sometimes be the difference between life and death. 

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