Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Pulse: Voices from the heart of medicine (online magazine)

The recently launched online magazine Pulse (currently free through registration) publishes personal accounts of illness and healing.

One can also follow Pulse through Facebook and RSS.

Pulse accepts submissions about giving and receiving health care  from patients and health care professionals. Through the sharing of emotional and practical stories and poems,  the magazine strives to promote compassionate health care.

Here are some excerpts from the article Hospital Librarian, by Pam Kress-Dunn

Some people seem surprised to find a library in a hospital. But it’s here, and so am I. Having been a librarian in lots of different libraries–public, academic, archival–I jumped at this job when it opened up. Little did I know what I was getting into.

Like many medical librarians, I work solo. I do have a volunteer who, despite being decades older than me, works tirelessly during the two days a week she’s here. But I’m the one who does the lit searches, tracks down the articles in medical journals and finds the piece of information the doctor requires before the surgery that’s scheduled for noon.

My predecessor told me about his most harrowing moment: A surgeon needed information–stat!–and it was available only from a journal our library didn’t carry. So he placed an interlibrary loan request, marking it “Urgent: Patient Care.” When the article came through on the fax machine, he read it aloud over the phone to the surgeon, who was standing in the OR as a nurse pressed the receiver to his ear….

…For family members like these, a hospital library is a sanctuary. It can be a relief to escape the medical floors for a while. And librarians may not be doctors or nurses, but we provide an essential kind of caregiving.

Librarians try to intuit what people need–whether it be silence, respite or practical help. From experience, I’ve learned that you never know what people are going through, or what they need. Often, the best I can offer is to keep my concerns to myself.

One day, a woman came in and asked if she could use a computer to send emails informing others about a family member’s health.

“Of course!” I said, showing her how to log on.

Looking cheerful, she began typing away. Then she paused.

“How do you spell ‘hospice’?” she asked.

I spelled the word, my heart sinking, and left her to craft her sad message…..

June 16, 2011 - Posted by | health care, Health News Items | , ,

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