Nealie Ngo

Leaving Telluride

I left Telluride in a daze today. It seemed strange to board the same shuttle that brought me to Napa 5 days ago to head back into the Bay, where I would soon return back to my normal life. There are so many lessons I’ve learned from Telluride that if I were to blog about it, I would most likely end up writing the sequel to Shattering the Wall. Therefore, in an effort to keep it succinct, I wanted to list some of my favorite quotes from Telluride:

“If a doctor gives an order in the forest, does anyone hear it?” (honestly one of my personal favorites, Dr. Nance is fantastic!!)

“Professionalism is not a divorcement from human nature; it is an understanding of human nature.”

“Lewis died because he was in the hospital room. He would be alive if he were anywhere else.”

“We look for vital… Continue reading

Patient, not Person-Centered Care

I remember the first day I interviewed a standardized patient in medical school we were given a sheet of paper with a checklist of questions we needed to ask our patients. “Where is the pain? Does it radiate? What does it feel like? On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, how does your pain feel?” There was a total of 23 questions on our checklist, a number that seemed daunting to someone who just learned how to properly introduce herself. Question #10 on our checklist read, “Patient’s perspective.” I wasn’t really sure what that meant, and for the first couple of sessions with a standardized patient I glazed over it, focused more on getting the chief complaint and getting the dosages and names of drugs that patients took correctly. After each session, I always got the same comment:… Continue reading

Telluride: Day 2

The power of storytelling is a powerful tool, and I feel like the main takeaway from today was the impact of stories. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved by so many patient stories than today, and what is more surprising to me is how wrong our perceptions of our patients were. Today we learned that what patients usually feel after a medical error has occurred is shock and/or disbelief, not anger. It was fascinating to hear how selfish it was for doctors to assume that patients would be angry at us and how this was a reflection of how, as doctors, we care more about protecting ourselves than protecting the patient.

Another thing that I found shocking was how different the outcomes were for all 3 of the stories we heard today about medical errors. They were all heartbreaking, but with one showing the extreme end of kindness,… Continue reading

Telluride: Day 1

“The patient is the most important visitor on our premises. He may be dependent on us, but we are also dependent on him. He is not an interruption to our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our work, he is central to it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve him.” —Mahatma Gandhi.

I remember reading this quote in the book, Wall of Silence by Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh, on my way to the conference and bookmarking it because I really liked it. As only a rising second-year medical student, I feel like the effects of burnout were already starting to rear their ugly heads by the time my first year of medical school finished back in May. As awful as it sounds, I… Continue reading

Pre-Telluride Reflections

Ever since I was little, hospitals have always made me feel inherently safe; I always just felt instantaneously better being inside of one. Aside from the (I always joked) heaven-sent sign that this meant I was supposed to do something in healthcare, I attributed this feeling to it being something about how a hospital houses an institution of human beings whose collective purpose is to heal and make people better. I still feel this way (which I find to be a good sign), but I now see hospitals in a new light. Hearing stories like Josie’s at Johns Hopkins and stories of my classmates who have had loved ones harmed or killed by medical errors were heartbreaking, disturbing, and definitely jarring, but they all seemed removed from me. “Yes these things happen to others, but it’s never happened to me.” However, in these few days before the conference, I’ve been… Continue reading

Telluride Experience 2020 Dates

BRECKENRIDGE, CO:
CMF Session One*: 6/8 – 6/11
Bennathan Session Two: 6/15 – 6/18
Session Three: 6/22 – 6/25

WASHINGTON, DC/MD:
Session Four: 7/22 – 7/25

*Session exclusive to the COPIC Medical Foundation Residents.