Patients of Color #1

Brown like me
Amir and Sarah bounced off the walls of the clinic. I smiled and showed them my stethoscope. Their dad just lost his job and with that went his health insurance. He was grateful for this free clinic. I was grateful he trusted me. They looked just like me and my brother when we were kids.

Roshan Bransden, MS4

Patients of Color #2

“Bad black mother”
She’s back again.
It’s her seventh child.
She’s positive for amphetamines, again.
HIV positive, no prenatal care, no insurance.
It’s 2 a.m. The baby is 3 months early.
It’s born — transferred to the NICU.
Mom is discharged.
“We’ll see her again,” my attending shrugs and turns to his computer.
We all failed her.

Roshan Bransden, MS4

The Reality of Stay at Home Orders

He’s ill, but cannot afford to miss work.
He wants to quarantine for others’ safety but can’t survive without income.
Your hands touch his. Now you’re contaminated.
It was easier to pass judgement on his lack of isolation when the virus was abstract.
But now, you too, are vulnerable to its hardships.
Now you understand.

Rachel Fields
Medical Student

Secure unit dialectic

Looming over her,
Yellow gown, masked,
Breath misting plastic, I barely hear:

“I can’t breathe”.
Intergenerational despair.

“Can I have my clothes?”
Crumpled on the mattress, tugging the
Baby doll around her,
“It’s for safety”, says the white nurse.
Stripped of identity
Like her ancestors.
Isolation again.
She hugs herself;
No budget for kind words.

Lisa Burback
Academic Psychiatrist

Unsettled Entrance

March 2020 was a cold and uneasy time. We arrived to the hospital with no one in the hallways, only a screener to greet us on the frontlines.
“Do you have any fever, cough, or shortness of breath?” No symptoms, sir.
“Any contacts with someone with COVID19?” I don’t know, we do not have testing.

Juliette Perzhinsky, MD, MSc
Faculty Member

Misfortune Rising

Balancing on tightrope
Rural America and inner-city staring me down
Death haunting those I love
Lack of hospitals- grim reaper looming
Family casualties in the war of inequality and racism
New threat of COVID-19- misinformation rising
The first medical degree- potential savior
A long path- bringing awareness hopefully home.

Evelyn Darden
Medical Student

Solitary confinement

Donning PPE, my gloved hand on his shoulder, “Sir, you have coronavirus.”  
He didn’t move. His foot handcuffed to bedrail.

His dad died last week from the virus. Didn’t see him. Didn’t make the funeral.

“Doc, my cellie kept coughing. No way to keep us 6 feet apart. No masks. No cleaning supplies.”

Solitary confinement.

Priti Dangayach
Faculty Member

Essential Personnel

I can’t breathe.

Is it the seal of an N95 respirator
Or the sole of a black leather boot crushing my windpipe
Until, like Breonna Taylor, our black and brown skin is no longer made palatable by white
White ambulances, coats, and hospital badges
Make us essential personnel but not essential persons

Aaminah Azhar
Medical Student

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