Photo Anatomy

A Blog by David Rochkind

Important Article on Health Care Decisions

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In the past few decades, medical science has rendered obsolete centuries of experience, tradition and language about our mortality, and created a new difficulty for mankind: how to die.

-“Letting Go” , Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, August 2, 2010, p. 40

There is an article in the New Yorker that is a must read for anyone interested in health care and health issues. Written by Atul Gawande, a general surgeon, the article looks at end of life choices and debates the value of continuing treatment at all costs vs. trying to increas the quality of the short time that remains; he argues that these two ideas are often in conflict.  There are no politics here, just heartfelt writing about issues that affect us all.  If nothing else, the article will make you think and, perhaps most importantly, make you feel.

Gawande writes:

This is a modern tragedy, replayed millions of times over.  When there is no way of knowing exactly how long our skeins will run – and when we imagine ourselves to have much more time than we do – our every impulse is to fight, to die with chemo in our veins or a tube in our throats or fresh sutures in our flesh.  The fact that we may be shortening or worsening the time we have left hardly seems to register.  We imagine that we can wait until the doctors tell us that there is nothing more they can do.  But rarely is there nothing more that doctors can do.  They can give toxic drugs of unknown efficacy, operate to try to remove part of a tumor, put in a feeding tube if a person can’t eat: there’s always something.  We want these choices.  We don’t want anyone – certainly not bureaucrats or the market place – to limit them.  But that doesn’t mean we are eager to make these choices ourselves.   Instead, most often, we make no choice at all.  We fall back on the default and the default is: Do something. Is there any way out of this?

-“Letting Go” , Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, August 2, 2010, p. 45


Written by rochkind

August 7, 2010 at 12:37 PM

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Welcome to the Blog

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Welcome to the blog!

You can expect news about what projects I am working on, where they have been(or will be) published and exhibited,  and real time reports from the field, complete with pictures and video, that will discuss everything from the issues at hand to the equipment I am using.  The goal here is to give more information about the process that goes into producing a story, the themes that the stories address, and how to get involved in taking action.

In a few days I will be going to Moldova to work on a story about Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis(MDR-TB).  The work is funded with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and will be part of a larger project on Tuberculosis that has taken me to Kenya, South Africa and India. Stay tuned for posts from Moldova.  In the meantime, here are a few images from my past work on the subject . . .

A doctor visits a patient at the Group of TB Hospitals in Mumbai, India during the daily rounds.

Gold miners pray underground before beginning a shift at the Great Noligwa Mine, near Orkney, South Africa. South African Gold miners are particularly vulnerable to contracting TB because of the small, poorly ventilated work and living conditions, high rates of HIV and high rates of silicosis, a lung disease often found in miners that increases the chance of having active TB

A patient sleeps at the Group of TB Hospitals in Mumbai. Nurses at the hospital place the most serious cases against the outer walls of the ward, where this patient is.

The blog is just beginning, and I will be adding more features, links and content.  Please continue to check back, or sign up for email notices for new posts(at the right of the page).  Also, please leave comments, ask questions and pass the link on to your friends, family and colleagues!

Written by rochkind

August 5, 2010 at 9:26 AM

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Photo Anatomy Blog

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Coming Soon!

Written by rochkind

January 12, 2010 at 11:25 PM

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