The poet Stephen Dunn once said,“I think one of my early motivations for writing was that other people’s versions of experience didn’t gel with my own. It was a gesture toward sanity to try to get the world right for myself. I’ve since learned that if you get it right for yourself, it often has resonance for others.”

Our new blog, Littoral Medicine, lends itself to posts that reveal individual minds struggling to make sense of challenging and complex experiences and issues in emergency medicine and health care. We wanted to provide a space for those thoughtful and honest conversations that otherwise take place in break rooms, bars, and hospital hallways.

We’re tired of conventional narratives centered on the archetype of the good physician, one who is always in control, responsible and compassionate. Similarly, it’s disingenuous to give patients a free pass on their troubles, relieving them of accountability for questionable decisions that impact their health. There are problems that resist solutions, and rationalizations that we wear like an ill-fitting gown. Do physicians really become better people as a result of our failures, because we’re constantly falling short. Patients and pundits cry for physicians to be more human, while expressing intolerance for the very failings and biases and behaviors that are inherent in all of us.

The Littoral Medicine blog is a space for probing and understanding contradictions, interrogating taboo subjects and feelings, exposing inconsistency and uncertainty. We seek to examine small moments from fresh angles. The views of the writers don’t necessarily reflect the views of the editors or our institution. 

We are motivated not by any political or philosophical agenda, but to create open and responsible discourse, to become architects of the narrative that will shape the future of healthcare. We hope to develop a shared resonance to humanize the experience of medicine for patients and providers alike. 

By: Jay Baruch (@JBaruchMD) & Noah K. Rosenberg (@NRosenbergMD)

All rights to material posted on this blog are retained exclusively by the author or artist and may not be reproduced in whole or part without written permission. Views expressed are the author’s own and posting does not imply endorsement by the editors or Brown University.

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