Allen Curreri's Blog

Healing Harm: The Issue of Physician Suicide

“Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, ‘Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and...

Under Fire: How First Responders Use Mindfulness to Manage Stress

We tend to envision the dramatic parts of a firefighter’s job: rescuing a child from a blaze, or enabling the safe evacuation of a collapsing building. In the face of that drama, though, we often forget that first responders encounter potentially traumatizing situations with far greater frequency than ordinary civilians. According to a study conducted in 2016, the prevalence of PTSD among emergency service workers is estimated at 17%-22%; this number stands starkly against the expected lifetime prevalence of 1%-7% within the general population.

Unspoken Signs: Should Doctors Address Patients’ Non-Verbal Cues?

Sometimes, the most important cues in a patient’s case are the ones that are never said – a too-long silence before an answer, or perhaps an assumption gone uncorrected. But for doctors focused on helping as many patients as possible before the close of the day, firing off a volley of diagnostic questions during appointments and drawing conclusions from verbalized answers seems the only way to carry a heavy workload. Their busy schedules do not allow them to pick at the meaning behind a patient’s posture or verbiage; all they can do is provide an encouraging word and snippets of friendly conversation amidst professional discussions of symptoms and diagnoses.

Logged but Unread: Technology and Communication in Hospitals

Medical professionals work tirelessly to save lives, often expending considerable physical, emotional, and mental energy in the process. The stakes for those working in hospitals are intense: lives hang in the balance. The stress of the job undoubtedly contributes to the fast-paced environment; doctors, nurses, and technicians alike not only have to juggle their own considerable load of tasks, but coordinate their work with their colleagues in order to ensure that each patient’s needs are properly met. Given the stressful expectations loaded onto these professional’s shoulders and the frenetic working environment native to hospitals, it’s hardly surprising that lines of communication break down and cause dangerous setbacks like the one described above – but understanding why they occur makes them no less worrisome.