Reflections on the medical encounter and medical education – photographs by Drs. Ravi DeSilva and Matthew Davis

Photograph by Ravi DeSilvaTwo photographic essays, created in 2008 by Dr. Ravi DeSilva in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Davis, are on exhibit in Miner Library through October.

“See One, Do One, Teach Many: The Physical Exam in Academic Medicine” by Ravi DeSilva, M.D.

“This series of images is a reflection on the physical exam in repetition and a possible patient’s perspective. This is also how medical students learn. The images are meant to use humor to arrive at the deeper reality of patients’ and students’ interactions.”

This photographic essay received the distinction of Honorable Mention in the 2008 Creative Excellence Award Contest, sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Cluster on Health and Human Values. Dr. DeSilva received his M.D. degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry in 2008. Currently, Dr. DeSilva is a fourth-year resident in Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.

“Physician: Flesh and Blood” by Matthew Davis, M.D.

Dr. Davis wrote the following narrative in 2008, the year he graduated medical school.

“I was on an endocrinology rotation several months ago, preparing to see a patient. My attending glanced at the chart I was reviewing and, upon seeing the patient’s name, a look of concern came over his face. He warned me, [so-and-so] is a well-to-do executive. ‘He might not have the patience for a medical student. Don’t hesitate to come get me if he’s reluctant to see you.’ To my surprise, I found him pleasant and cooperative.

This experience reminded me of the power we, in medicine, hold over our patients. In four years of medical school, I have become accustomed to expect my patients to simply comply with almost anything I request, however humiliating, personal, invasive, or uncomfortable it might be. Virtually every patient consented to whatever I wanted without giving it a second thought.

This photo essay was born out of my above reflections. The idea was to look at ourselves as budding physicians with the same critical eye we view patients, to expose ourselves as they have to us, to remind us that what we’ve been trained to view as routine and mundane is anything but that to our patients. After all, we’re human too.”

Currently, Dr. Davis is an attending psychiatrist at New Hampshire Hospital and on the Dartmouth Medical School faculty.


About Miner Library

Edward G. Miner Library is an academic health sciences library serving the University of Rochester Medical Center, including the Eastman Dental Center, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Strong Memorial Hospital, University Medical Faculty Group, and members of the public in the eleven county area surrounding Rochester, New York.

This article was submitted by Susan Andersen

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