Every gift can become a curse.
Healthcare is no different.
The capacity to save lives also presents a capacity to take lives away.
What does it mean to face this responsibility?
Last Saturday, BRAIN members visited the Mütter Museum, a medical museum located in the Center City area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Exploring the unique collections, members were both intrigued and inspired by the showcases of medicine, some reflecting upon what it meant to be a physician.
One member, Honor's College student Ansley Kunnath, articulates her experience below.
An invasive procedure
past the teratomas and conjoined fetuses in jars
you walk up to a display case
one hundred skulls lined up and illuminated
like sneakers at a department store
like diamonds at a jeweler's
a caption beneath each skull the only memory of the mind it once protected
to reduce an entire life
to a name, an occupation, an age, a cause of death
you cannot help but wonder what your caption would be
you look into one skull
I mean really look into it, like it belongs to a person not an idea
a deviated septum -
did he have trouble breathing?
did he snore?
did his siblings tease him about it?
you try to construct a body around the skull
but you realize that you cannot even imagine its skin
the bottle that once held someone's fantasies
has been recycled into a white canvas for your own fantasies
it almost feels wrong to look at something so personal
yet so detached
but to be a doctor is to accept this pain and this beauty
it is to not look away
- Ansley Kunnath