Practicing from the Heart in the age of Technology - All articles and poems are by Reza Ghadimi, unless otherwise noted.
My life in medicine started as a young boy. I was brought up by my grandmother, who was a powerful curandera. Though she was practically illiterate, her knowledge of home remedies, botany, and common-sense healthcare was well known and she was highly respected. Growing in her care, I learned much just by watching and often helping her.
As many who have read my book: Practicing From the Heart in the Age of Technology can attest, I have high respect for women of medicine. Many stories in my book are of experiences working with them around the world. It gave me a perspective on healthcare which otherwise would not have been possible:
A wonderful nun and nurse with whom I had the privilege of working in Southern Colorado, would often drive many miles on mountainous and dangerous roads of the area to deliver care to people who - due to mental disabilities - were not even aware of her presence. I learned a lot from that lady, particularly obstetrics, as I helped her home-deliver several babies. Some under extremely trying conditions, as many families lived in primitive conditions without electricity or plumbing.
Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias, practiced at Lincoln Hospital in South Bronx, NY, when I was in my residency at that hospital. The programs she started and the way she practiced medicine, touched many of us. She said: “We need health, but above all we need to create a grounding for healthy public policy that redresses and salvages the growing inequities. We cannot achieve a healthier us without achieving a healthier, more equitable health care system, and ultimately, a more equitable society.”
And my favorite, Dr. Angela Ramirez, a female Puerto Rican physician. She was a surgical resident at Elmhurst Hospital in NY when I was a nineteen-year-old tech working in the ER. When she learned of my background of working in surgery back in my home country, she took special interest in teaching me, and encouraging me to pursue medicine.
Another lady I have the honor of knowing is Doctor Regina Benjamin. Her history is most fascinating and enlightening. Born in Mobile, Alabama, to a poor family, she was the first from her family to receive an M.D.
Dr. Benjamin was the first African-American female physician appointed the U.S. Surgeon General in 2009 — appointed by President Barack Obama.
I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many people like them in my years of medical work. I learned more from them than all the schooling I received otherwise. Perhaps the greatest and most important lesson has been how to be compassionate in the face of adversity, care for everyone even when they themselves stop caring. How to teach while learning and learn while teaching. As Maya Angelou once said; “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”