Week 14 “Black Man In A White Coat” Response

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    The fourth section of Part 1, titled “Inner-City Blues”, depicts Tweedy’s experiences at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta, GA. HE beautifully sets the stage of his environment by noting that the hospital serves mostly African Americans, especially people who are on Medicaid/Medicare or lack insurance. He also included the fact that many black doctors favor working at this hospital helping fellow African Americans give them a heightened sense of purpose and belonging. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the events described regarding Lucy. She was a fifty-year-old African American female that complained of chest pain after arguing with her son earlier that morning. I loved how Tweedy laid out Lucy’s history, stating that she had high blood pressure and diabetes but no records of heart disease. This description drew me into the story, as I felt like a practitioner attempting to diagnose Lucy. The story turns dark very quickly, as Lucy’s body goes limp and she stops breathing. Tweedy does an excellent job creating a chaotic and deathly mood, as he depicts doctors and nurses running into the room in an attempt to save Lucy’s life. Tweedy uses short and simple sentences to emphasize the sadness of the situation, such as “No response…No pulse… No breathing (pg.82)”. Tweedy then does a great job of explaining the intense and urgent scene of doctors trying to revive Lucy yet she remained dead for twenty minutes. Finally, they stopped CPR and called her time of death. He then creates a picture od the practitioners rushing out of the room and cleaning up Lucy’s room, emphasizing the mere normalcy of her death. This also revealed the sheer amount of patients they had to see, minimizing the compassion and relationships doctors were able to have with patients. Tweedy also points out that she had just become another statistic, further signifying the irrelevancy of her death. Tweedy then uses phenomenal imagery to show how devastated Lucy’s family was once they found out she was deceased. He included their dialogue, thus making the reader feel a personal connection to the tragedy. Tweedy includes dialogue that shows how angry Lucy’s sister had gotten, saying “This is…bullshit…What kind of damn hospital is this”. I loved this quote because it showed a stereotypical response to death and how families coped with the loss of a loved one. Overall, I feel that Tweedy did a great job at depicted the true events that occur inside the hospital. Additionally, I found it very interesting that he continued to make connections between race and health inequalities of black people. This section made me think critically about what I would do in that situation and I was able to reflect on the emotions that flowed through this tragedy. Tweedy made me feel personally connected with this event and he also painted a very clear picture of his experiences, despite the chaos that was surrounding him.


    Lucy’s story was one that I also felt rather deeply connected to. I too picked up on the normalcy of her death. This kind of reminded me back to the first reading (I believe) in this course where we discussed the numbness associated physicians when it came to patient death and how this affected third-year medical-students for the rest of their medical affiliated lives. The doctor-patient relationship is very critical as we’ve also learned throughout this course so this was also very interesting to see how this aspect played out in the course of this text. Overall, this is a really great forum post and its really clear to see how so many discussions in class wrapped up in singular text! Thank you for sharing 🙂

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