Above all else, do no harm. This is a basic tenet of a physician’s oath, but this oath does not always align with the religious and cultural beliefs of each patient. In cases where beliefs of faith, salvation or religion play a major factor in a patient’s desire to commit suicide, it can be difficult to draw the line between the traditional ethical guidelines of patient autonomy and non-maleficence.
My fingers tense. Frozen not of my own accord. I want to do this, but I can’t. I need to do this, yet the anxiety grips at my mind and throat, stalling what should be an easy decision. As a Black, gay medical student in my fourth year, what I’m about to do has so many repercussions and permutations. So much so that I feel stuck, unable to be decisive when decisiveness is necessary.
When the pandemic hit, many psychiatry departments across the United States had to rapidly adapt and respond in innovative ways to serve the needs of their patient population. After an initial struggle, many found a platform best-suited for this need and transitioned to telepsychiatry as a way to see and treat patients.
I first met Ruth in the emergency department when I was a third-year medical student on my psychiatry rotation. She was an “elderly female with psychosis — medical workup negative.” My resident had received a page with a request for her admission and sent me to the ED to speak with her first.
When I found out I was going to be deployed to treat patients with COVID, I dealt with a lot of existential dread. I remember feeling like I was leaving medicine behind when I matched to a psychiatry residency, and again after I finished the medicine portion of my intern year.
@PsychResChat is the newest sub-community on Twitter, short for Psychiatry Resident Chat, the brainchild of Dr. Tolu Odebunmi, MD, MPH who is a psychiatry resident at the University of Minnesota. The co-hosts use the account to share information and news relevant to psychiatry residents. Additionally, @PsychResChat is the home of bi-weekly live discussions, aimed at engaging the #PsychResTwitter community.
Illness lies hidden in our ways / Influenced by the unconscious gaze.