When first shadowing the ECMC palliative care team as a second year medical student, I had little exposure to and knowledge about end of life care. In the past year, I have learned so much about palliative care and its importance in honoring and respecting patient lives. I not only became aware of tools like the MOLST and advanced care directives, but I also observed in depth conversations that looked past medical diagnoses to understand the values of the patient living with the disease. Listening in on family meetings showed me that palliative care is the prime example of the patient-centered care model we are taught in medical school. No decision is made unless either the patient, or the family member acting on behalf of the patient, believes it aligns with who they are and the quality of life they would want before they pass. Seeing the palliative team in action has also taught me that their primary purpose is not to eliminate the fear in dying or letting go of a loved one. End of life care is meant to make the process of dying easier for both the patients and their loved ones by simply exchanging knowledge between the expert of living with the disease and the expert in the disease process. Palliative care without a doubt has made a lasting impression on me and will guide me in my future patient interactions as I progress through the rest of medical school and further into my future career.
M.D. Candidate, Class of 2021
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences