vaidehi-mujumdar

Vaidehi Mujumdar

Vaidehi Mujumdar is a medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine. An alumna of Dartmouth College, her writing has been published in The Guardian, The Almost Doctors Channel, The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, India.com US Edition, Media Diversified, and others. Follow her on Twitter @VeeMuj.

The American Health Care Act and its Effects on Healthcare

Repeal and replace has been the ongoing motto of the current administration with regards to the Affordable Care Act. Repealing has remained the easy task, but replacing is the hard part, the one filled with frustration of a system that is can swallow you whole.   While the Affordable Care Act is not without its shortcomings, it was a success in several ways. Mark Hall, JD, one of the leading scholars in the areas of health care law and public policy at Wake Forest University, made three clear points about the ACA at a town hall in Winter 2017: 1) it was never written to provide universal coverage; 2) most Americans have no idea that the uninsured rate is the lowest in decades; 3) the insurance laws were changed so that no one was uninsurable.   However, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the replacement for the ACA, seems less likely a repeal and replace, and more like a repeal with no clear strategies to on improvement. And when it comes to health and lives of millions of Americans, an inadequate replacement is not good enough. The House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees initially introduced the AHCA in March 2017, where it failed to pass. This bill as it stood in March would have repealed tax penalties for those without insurance, reduced Medicaid spending, incentivized states...

The Cost of Caring: At What Point Do Doctors Face Compassion Fatigue?

I would often feel that I was living in an altered state where I was mentally and physically tired. Sometimes I felt as if I had nothing to give. It got to the point where I would feel physically sick before the appointment and actual get nauseous. It almost felt as if I were the one that was sick – as if I felt the tightness or throbbing in the exact same spot. [1]  There is a cost to caring – as psychologist and therapist Charles Figley points out – commonly called compassion fatigue.   1. What is Compassion Fatigue? The term compassion means “to suffer with” and those who find themselves as caregivers – professionally and/or personally often absorb the pain and trauma of others until they are exhausted spiritually, mentally, and physically. Clinically, compassion fatigue is referred to as the symptoms of secondary post-traumatic stress caused by caregiving. Colleen Breen, the author of Making Changes: A Guidebook for Managing Life’s Challenges, describes compassion fatigue as “soul sadness.” Patricia Smith, founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project warns that caring for others too much can hurt not matter your age or in what capacity you are providing care. A story in March 2012 on Good Morning America highlighted a staggering number of Americans who were suffering from compassion fatigue. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP, more...

Second Traumas: How They Occur & What We Can Do to Prevent Them

I recently attended a conference where the keynote speaker, Dr. Linda Emanuel, discussed trauma, the different treatments and research that has been conducted in Western medicine on behalf of those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The part that caught my attention was how Emanuel characterized trauma. To paraphrase her words, when people tell you about trauma – a death, a physical assault, the end of a relationship/friendship, a shocking diagnosis, etc. – a second trauma occurs if that revelation is not properly witnessed. I found this idea of second trauma to be powerful because so often, trauma is characterized as a bleeding gunshot wound or deep mental distress, but trauma can be any sudden change in your life that affects you mentally, physically, or spiritually. I began questioning my own experiences and those of friends, family, and peers, especially the women in my life. I recently began volunteering as a rape crisis advocate at a city hospital, so a specific kind of trauma has been on my mind. When I interviewed for the program, I was asked why I wanted to work with sexual assault cases. My answer was simple: to help prevent second trauma. Most of us do not innately know how to deal with difficult situations. We learn along the way, but in that process we can hurt and do damage despite having the best intentions. Women of all...