The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
In 1990 Jacek Mostwin, a young surgeon working in a large university hospital, began to sense there was a deeper, more timeless, meaning to his work and the lives of his patients. There was a spiritual dimension to medicine and he needed to be closer to it. He began to follow some of his patients to the shrine at Lourdes in France.
Dr. Mostwin has been traveling to Lourdes with the Order of Malta as a volunteer physician and has returned 17 times since his first pilgrimage in 1992. In 2004, he completed a film, Engaging the Spiritual Dimension: A Doctor’s Tale It is his attempt to show the human side of this experience, his own, and that of others, engaging the spiritual dimension. The mystery of Lourdes is timeless. It has given rise to many stories. This is one story, a doctor’s tale.
Marion Pritchard, a gentile whose shock at watching Nazi soldiers storm a home for Jewish children in Amsterdam and load them into a truck for deportation inspired her to enter a clandestine world of rescuing Jews, died on Dec. 11, 2016 at her home in Washington, DC. She was 96.
Please read her moving NY Times obituary. It's inspiring to be reminded of true heroism. This woman's brave and quiet work is a candle in the dark.
Our colleague, Dr. Rakesh Biswas from Bhopal, India, forwarded us a link to a memorable essay in the current issue of The Lancet. Thank you, Rakesh!
(from the Lancet’s comments on this essay) “We share the same space, but not the same time”, writes Naaheed Mukadam about a patient with dementia in her essay “Stay with me”. The essay, which won the Lancet’s 2016 Wakley Prize, examines the way dementia disrupts life not only for the patient but also for the family and carers.
To say more would spoil the impact of this sensitive, articulate and important article. It well-deserves the prestigious Wakely Prize. Your time to read or listen to it will be well-spent!
Following the death of an elderly friend and neighbor, Cell 2 Soul author, Marla Lukofsky, reflects on being single, living alone, aging, friendship, and how to protect what matters at the end of life.
In her narrative, posted in the Online Journal of Community and Patient-Centered Dermatology, Marla examines new feelings and relevant issues following the death of her long-time friend and neighbor, Enid. Marla reflects upon the ever increasing single, aging population, living alone, and how that may affect their fate in life and in death no matter what preparations have been made.
Marla also questions the current trend to treat this special group as either disposable or invisible instead of appreciating them for the rich human resource they are.
You are invited to follow Marla through her friend’s funeral and view what was left behind. She asks, “Are we any different than that older person we pass by so quickly and dismissively? I am she, she is me. We are they. It’s only a matter of time.”
Around 25 years ago, I met the Balinese anthropologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Luh Ketut Suryani. She went on to establish the Suryani Institute for Mental Health in 2005, because, she said, “A large number of mentally ill people in Bali are essentially abandoned, permanently kept under restrains, chained or in makeshift cages by their families, or community (pasung).”
Indonesia spends less than 1 percent of its total health budget to mental health, uncommonly low even compared with other lower middle-income countries. It has only about 700 trained psychiatrists, roughly one for every 350,000 citizens.
Drs. Nova and Suryani have devoted their lives to improving the care and living conditions for Indonesia’s mentally ill. Pause for a moment to honor these two visionary women.
Dr. Luh Ketut Suryani
Dr. Nova Riyanti Yusuf
Here is a German language You Tube on "Bali's Dark Side." (Unfortunately, I can't find a copy with English subtitles, but the film can be viewed and appreciated even with the German narration.)
When is it ethical to design a health care system that caters to those who can pay?
An old Yiddish proverb runs: "If the rich could pay the poor to die for them, the poor would make a very good living."
Khawar Mann, OBE, a venture capitalist with the Abraaj investment group, travels around Africa scoping out hospitals to buy that seem likely to provide good returns on investments.
Private health care has been an interesting model in the U.S. which lags behind all other developed nations in outcomes. So why is the American system now envisioned as a viable model for Africa? Will this not just serve to widen the "health" gap between the rich and poor?
Mr. Mann says: "“Nairobi is a sweet spot for us. There is a big population that is growing. You have emerging middle incomes. And there is a massive need for health care.” (for those who can afford to pay in cash).