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This May Hurt a Bit

This May Hurt a Bit

The intuitions, insights, and growing pains of a medical student
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    Shara Yurkiewicz Shara Yurkiewicz is a fourth-year student at Harvard Medical School. She was an AAAS Mass Media Fellow, and her work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Discover, and The Best Science Writing Online 2012 and 2013. She is interested in medical ethics and has served as guest editor for the American Medical Association's ethics journal Virtual Mentor. She conducted ethics research at Harvard, Yale, and the Hastings Center and received a B.S. in biology from Yale. Shara's previous blog can be found at This May Hurt a Bit. Follow on Twitter @sharayurkiewicz.
  • To the next steps

    After deep reflection, I’ve made the difficult choice not to continue “This May Hurt a Bit” as part of the Scientific American blogs network under its new direction. My most recent blog post was in April. I graduated medical school in May. I began a one-year medical journalism fellowship at MedPage Today in July, where [...]

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    Post-operative check

    It’s okay that you don’t remember me. My name is Shara, and I’m part of the surgical team. I’m checking to see how you’re doing after your surgery. Do you know where you are right now? Actually, you’re in the hospital. You had surgery a few hours ago, for a broken hip. You used to [...]

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    There was a very large lesion in his left frontal lobe, and no one knew what it was. He had been admitted earlier that day, after a neighbor found him in the hallway, confused and covered in urine.  Now he sat in his bed quietly, while we stared at his brain and the bright spot [...]

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    Gut decisions

    On my second day of fourth year, I had to make a decision. “Mr. K would like Miralax,” read the nurse’s page.   A medical sub-internship, which a student completes in her fourth year, is designed to be an internship with training wheels. The main difference between third and fourth year is that the  third [...]

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    We met on my birthday and your age trailed mine by a week. Your past medical history bare, you let me see you sick. You let me feel the margins of your spleen, your sexual history, your confusion over why this and why you and what now and what next.   I hated the political [...]

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    “Good patients” cover their emotional cracks

    The presentable face, by Mary Seerveld

    When we told the patient and his family that the mass in his lung was highly concerning for cancer, he didn’t say anything.  His daughter asked about his symptoms.  His son-in-law asked when and how he could get a definitive diagnosis.  His wife asked when he could go home.  Finally, he spoke. “I’m sorry for [...]

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    Unkept Promises

    “Your hands feel like velvet,” the 94-year-old woman told me as I pushed on her abdomen in the emergency department on a Friday night. “That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me all day,” I told her. “That’s pretty sad,” she said, and her abdomen quivered as she suppressed a laugh. I walked out of [...]

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    An Introduction: Sharing Stories with Strangers

    “I woke up forty days ago,” began a 922-word email sent to me shortly after I shared a story about a demented patient continually waking up to discover that he had had a leg amputation.  I read it and re-read it, astounded by the story that was over twice as long as my original post. [...]

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