It’s interesting to note the importance of this article despite the date of it being published, which was a little over a month ago on March 10. It’s been a month after this article was written, and yet the relevance of it is undeniable as it seems the only thing people tweet nowadays is #flattenthecurve, a short three-word phrase that is easy to remember. Barclay even takes advantage of this as when they published the chart they used the term, ”The chart has since gone viral with the help of the hashtag #FlattenTheCurve.” By using terms like “gone viral”, it is clear who the target audience for this article is, people who use the internet, which is a large chunk of the populations. It’s a smart thing too, it’s a short phrase, simple to remember, and the repetition will ensure its remembrance and importance for years down the road. This article simply proves in looking at the small subtle gestures editors and journalists are making in order to reach a bigger audience.
When reading Metzl and Hansen’s scientific article on structural competency, it seems clear to me why this article would not be of interest to others outside of the field of medical anthropology. The way that the article is structured with fine print and two columns per page, the article itself is very daunting looking, and if one were to read said article, those with a lesser education or low income might have a challenging time reading this. Comparing this article to Villarosas’, there is a stark difference between the two articles, and while Villarosas never states the actual term: “structural competency” and does state statistics and facts such as “Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies,” readers will have a much easier time understanding that term than if they were to read Metzl and Hansen’s less approachable article. Villarosa explains structural competency through personal experience and guides readers through the experiences of losing a baby and another childbirth process.
“Landrum noticed that her hands, her feet and even her face were swollen, and she had to quit her job because she felt so ill. But her doctor[…]brushed aside her complaints. He recommended Tylenol for the headaches[…] Landrum says. “When I told him my head still hurt, he said to take more”’ (Villarosa).
“When Landrum complained about how she was feeling more forcefully at the appointment, she recalls, her doctor told her to lie down — and calm down. She says that he also warned her that he was planning to go out of town and told her that he could deliver the baby by C-section that day if she wished, six weeks before her early-January due date. Landrum says it seemed like an ultimatum, centered on his schedule and convenience” (Villarosa).
The above quotes are responses to her experience in pregnancy only to have a stillborn birth. By combining her personal experiences and relating them to the facts of mortality rates such as, “For black women in America, an inescapable atmosphere of societal and systemic racism can create a kind of toxic physiological stress, resulting in conditions — including hypertension and pre-eclampsia — that lead directly to higher rates of infant and maternal death” (Villarosa).
In Katharine Treadway’s and Neal Chatterjee’s scientific article, Into The Water, they both discuss the complexity of the doctor’s way of dealing with compassion, or sometimes, lack thereof, by describing to the reader of different observations made in the hospital. One of the more shocking passages is when Treadway retells the reader of what she wrote in a reflection of her first year. Within only a few paragraphs, she makes it apparent that the key to having proper compassion in the medical field is to be self-aware. She acknowledges the tragic and traumatic in detail and startlingly bluntly, never sugar coating an incident, “I have seen entirely too many people naked. I have seen 350 pounds of flesh, dead: dried red blood streaked across nude adipose, gauze, and useless EKG paper strips.” The way she describes these types of incidents such as the death of a baby “— blue, limp, quiet” or someone on an OR table, “…anesthetized, splayed, and filleted…” are so profound, and yet necessary as people outside of the medical field don’t naturally understand why a doctor would disassociate themselves from the people they treat. It’s almost like looking at gruesome pictures of warfare, people don’t necessarily want to see it, but how can people learn from their mistakes (and victories) without seeing their consequences. While this passage as a whole tells us how doctors should act in terms of compassion and association with their patients, I think it is important to note, that we as the reader should also take on some of this responsibility. We tend to hide from the grim, grotesque things of reality, while doctors are forced to live with it every day, when perhaps, we, the reader, should become more compassionate towards the doctors who sometimes treat us.