Montefiore in the News
Heartfelt Tales by Physicians and Patients Inspire Unique Online National Magazine
- July 23, 2009
- Montefiore Physician Creates Pulse to Capture Real-Life Medicine
New York City, NY (July 21, 2009) - A popular new weekly online magazine is providing a voice for doctors, other health professionals and patients across the nation who, in well-crafted, poignant nonfiction stories and poems, share the emotionally wrenching and inspirational moments that define the practice of medicine.
Pulse--voices from the heart of medicine, is the brainchild of Paul Gross, MD, a physician in the Department of Family Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "I wanted to capture ‘real-life medicine,' going beyond the textbooks and professional journal articles to create a powerful dialogue to help stimulate change in the health care system," he said. His plan seems to be working, because the circulation of Pulse, launched only a year ago, has grown rapidly to over 3,400 participatory readers and writers.
Physician narratives and poems cover a range of themes, from epiphanies (the death of an infant in Paraguay inspires a career in medicine) to grace (caring words uttered by the parents of a dying child inspire a young, terrified intern) and professional humility (a vitamin nut teaches a doctor why it is important to listen to patients' beliefs and concerns).
Patients have written equally powerful and sometimes humorous stories about such topics as anger (when doctors miss an ovarian-cancer diagnosis), fantasy (an elderly patient sees a ghost) and pride (a patient reluctantly accepts chemotherapy, but visualizes it in a unique way).
"Pulse stories are now being used for medical teaching, are being read by patients and health professionals alike, and are being picked up by organizations like the American Medical Student Association and the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness," says Dr. Gross. "We want these stories to get people talking about both the flaws and glories of how medicine is practiced today and help spark changes in the health care system."
Pulse, whose editor-in-chief is Dr. Gross and whose publisher is Peter Selwyn, MD, chairman of Family Medicine, has captured the imagination of a burgeoning pool of writers from across the nation and has hosted a spirited dialogue in its comments section. Stories are selected from submissions by clinicians (doctors, nurses and others) and patients, then helped along by the deft hand of Diane Guernsey, a former senior editor at Town & Country. Every Friday, one of these stories or a poem is e-mailed to Pulse readers.
"I have great dreams for Pulse," says Dr. Gross. "I'd like readers to come to think of Pulse as their own, a place where they can speak from personal experience and from the heart. A place where generous listening leads to understanding and the inspiration to advocate for change. We welcome new writers, stories and readers."
Pulse's stories (http://www.pulsemagazine.org/Archive_List.cfm) have included:
"Chemo? No, Thanks," it's not death but chemotherapy that terrifies this patient
- "First Night Call," a brand-new intern must comfort a dying child's parents (http://www.pulsemagazine.org/Archive_Index.cfm?content_id=43);
- "Halloween Horrors," a doctor tries to get his own prescription drug plan to work (http://www.pulsemagazine.org/Archive_Index.cfm?content_id=29);
- "Carmen's Story," a symptomatic woman's ovarian cancer eludes her doctors (http://www.pulsemagazine.org/Archive_Index.cfm?content_id=26);
- "My Patient, My Friend," a cardiac surgeon's error costs him dearly (http://www.pulsemagazine.org/Archive_Index.cfm?content_id=30).