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No matter what doctors, nurses, technicians, and other hospital staff do – medical care will never be good enough. The decisions made can always be better, mistakes will be made, and people will die. Perfection is a dream for most people, but it can be a nightmare for many people in the medical field. What if this was done, would the patient still be alive? This problem should have been noticed earlier. The answer to this illness is unknown. And yet, doctors are at the epitomy of respected professions. Health care may be a gray area, but care is not. The responsibility of people in the medical is to do their best, not to be perfect. People will entrust their own lives to someone who’s best action is determined, not necessarily by what’s right or wrong, but more so by the situation itself.

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As a volunteer at a hospital’s pediatric emergency room, I read books to children and gave some books away to the younger children as a part of a program. I basically had the responsibility to enter the rooms on my own when doctors and nurses were not perfoming their duties. One evening, I came into a room to give a boy a book. Two men were in the room as well, one I assume was the boy’s father. Each of them were deaf. Thankfully I took an American Sign Language course in high school, although the importance of those lessons didn’t sink in until now. I probably looked completely shocked while I shaped my hand and arms to ask “he want b-o-o-k?” I knew the sign for want, but not book so I spelled that out. The guy gave me a thumbs up. I hope that meant good job, or at the very least ok he can have a book. Unfortunately I didn’t have the same success when confronted with Spanish. I would advise anyone working in a hospital to learn as much about communication as possible.

After the shooting at Virginia Tech, there was a common belief amongst most people that Universities should be a safe location. Indeed, this is a belief we should try to uphold. However, many urban schools struggle to reach that standard. In the same state, Virginia Commonwealth University, which now holds the annual Governor’s campus safety conference, is a mile below such a standard of safety. The area is plagued by shootings at a night club, the violent crowd brought in by rap concerts, and homeless or impoverished people hanging around.

It is not rare to hear gun shots from my dorm building, which in fact had a bullet fly though one of the windows in the years prior to my matriculation into the university. In the month before school, someone was shot in the restaurant across the street that is tailored to a night club crowd. Beside the restaurant is the night club, where police have to go nearly every time there is an event there. During my first year at the university, there was a rap concert at the famous Landmark Theater, lying in the middle of the school’s campus, which led to a gathering of people at the Monroe Park corner. I had walked past about fifteen or thirty minutes before some maniac decided to a fire a gun into the air. Due to the shooting at VT, an alert system was created to notify students in the case of an emergency. However, the system has yet to be perfected (There is actually a test in a few minutes…) and is not even used during such instances as I have mentioned. But who’s to say that a guy won’t come running from the club onto the campus firing a gun. If this is the case, the alert system is useless for the most immediate danger to the VCU population. Yet, there are too many incidents at the club or in the streets to sound of the alarm every time something happens. It is best to eliminate this danger, but the school is slow to take such action.

Most of the homeless people in the area are polite and passive, not pestering anyone about giving them money if they say no. But because of the large number of impoverished people in the area who lack the means to buy food on a daily basis, there is certainly a number of dangerous people amongst them. The beautiful Monroe park is known for the number of homeless people who crash there. After dark, it is essentially off limits, mostly due to the potential for incidents. Dating couples can forget about an evening walk in the park, and in fact anyone can forget walking just about anywhere after dark because the surrounding area is worse. VCU has the capability to aid the homeless, even if it is just enough to curb the danger to its students and faculty. And with an image that has been trashed recently, the school should now have the motivation to so. The school spends so much money on construction, but have they considered buying out the club? The school produces and distributes so much food per day, but have they considered helping supply the homeless with food so they won’t ask the school population for money? Have they considered developing plans to help homeless move on and to renovate Monroe Park, the very namesake of the Undergraduate campus? I am aware that the are is better than it was in the past, but it is still not even close to good enough. Some improvement is not an excuse for taking a lackadaisical approach to the future.

It would be of great benefit to everyone; students, faculty, and the homeless population, if VCU would take responsibility of the area and act to truly change the community. “With great power comes great responsibility.” VCU has yet to accept its responsibility for the safety of students and successful function of the community. The school pays the mayor hundreds of thousands to teach a class for which he rarely shows up. I think VCU can spare some effort for the betterment of the students and the community.

While I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at UVA I wanted to do something to give the program more publicity. It is an excellent program for anyone hoping to enter med or dental school, but very few people know about it. Many of the applicants, including myself, only found out about it by searching the net. The program has more than high enough quality to be recommended by advisors and publicized through schools. I tried to get the local news channel to do a short piece about the program, but that fell through. I should have also tried the newspaper, but I didn’t get around to it. However, I recently realized that a blog entry might possibly reach as many people as any other method I had considered:

There is a committment to the medical field and a service to the health of people, in the present and in the future that constitutes duty beyond expectation. The Directors of the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the University of Virginia have devoted many years, in some cases 2 decades, to the education of future doctors.  The attending undergraduate students have sacrificed six-weeks of the summer to gain knowledge for the benefit of others. They come from all around the country and all over the world to join for a shared cause. Every weekday a minimum of nine hours, and often more, are devoted for learning different subjects, preparing for medical school, experiencing different career opportunities, and focusing on serving people. But the story does not end there. Even though the students originate from aound the world, they were prepared to dedicate their time and energy to Charlottesville and the surrounding community. The feat performed by the students, the directors, the speakers, and other particpants deserve recognition.

July 23 and 24 CNN will be showing its special about “black america.” I am tempted to watch, and may very well do so, but I get the feeling I would be disappointed by the way went about displaying a group of people. The main question I have is if they are going to focus on the negative or the positive. For example, it is true that young black men are often undevoted to their families, but when I volunteered in a hospital pediatric emergency room, I remember seeing numerous black fathers who were completely dedicated to their children. Another concern I have about the show is that it appears to lump all black people together. Amongst the black community there is immense diversity and individualism as amongst any culture. The timing of the show is very good with the recent uprising of racism, but will the show be powerful enough to make people think? Will the show be from a viewpoint that does not destroy established community, but brings multiple communities of people together? Maybe my expectations are too large or maybe I have a misconception of what the show is actually about, but with the publicity they are giving the special…I hope that it is truly deserving of the spotlight.

I recently put a youtube video up based on the short educational segments from the adventures of sonic the hedgehog. I wanted to do some type of informative series, but not boring or completely serious. I decided that I would do a Sonic Sez (says) series on health tips. Often, community service is viewed as something where you go out to a location and commit an onsite effort. However, if people watch the health tips videos, and learn from them, it too can be a form of community service, but at the same time it has the possibility of a far greater outreach. I plan to put forth hours of effort to these videos. The first one, about exercise, is a test, not the most informative and not the most work behind it, but I can see the concept might work. I plan on having some more significant tips in the future. Although I am using a video game character to output my message I certainly don’t think of this as a game. I welcome any comments and/or ideas, and please watch the videos too, the words of sonic the hedgehog have a way of lingering in the mind.  I have to fine tune the idea, but this seems to be an excellent way to reach out to other people and improve my own knowledge at the same time.

What I Learned From My First Reading Session about Seizures

  • More than 2 million people in the U.S. have had seizures and/or been diagnosed with epilepsy
  • The term seizure is a symptom
  • If a seizure is not epileptic, or if a diagnosis is uncertain, it should be described as paroxysmal
  • There are about 32 types of seizures
  • aprox. 50% of seizures never have an identified cause; the other 50% are usually due to underlying diseases or injury of the brain
  • Seizures limited to one portion of the brain are called partial seizures
  • Most seizures last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes

For a fairly common ‘symptom’ very little is known about seizures. Understanding seizures better could improve the lifestyle of thousands of people. Equally important, it could decrease the amount of fear in people who suffer a seizure and are unsure of why it happened, if it will happen again, or when it could happen. Tests to search for underlying causes can also be quite time consuming and expensive, often including an EEG, CT scan, and an MRI. Each test can be very important in indentifying problems, but the quality of the tests do not seem to meet the needs of epilepsy/seizure patients since only 50% of the time a cause is identified.