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Why you should consider a humanities program / What my Certificate in Medical Humanities classes taught me

04/02/2014. ENGL 470. Drexel University.Final Class Review.

“How have the classes prepared you for the medical world?”

Certificate in Medical Humanities Classes I took.

  1. Biomedical Ethics and Law
  2. Illness and Healing
  3. Perspectives in Medical Humanities
  4. History of Technology
  5. Capstone Seminar in Medical Humanities

Taking the above courses have exposed me to the medical world beyond the mathematics and sciences taught in biomed classes. By being knowledgeable about human beings, the primary target of biomed technologies, it will help me consider certain things that an ordinary engineer would not.

The initial exposure was in History of Technology and that was fairly interesting.

Biomedical Ethics & law was the first class that introduced me to the ethical principles of biomedical engineering. It was interesting to learn of past ethical blunders made by some top researchers and engineers in the field, as it gave me an idea of what can/cannot and should never be done in biomedical engineering.

Then I took Illness and Healing which came across at first as a completely vague topic for a class but as the weeks went by, I not only learned the subject matter, but developed an understanding of various illnesses including chronic and terminal illnesses, and how people try to cope with their illness. It was also rewarding to have a former care-giver pay the class a visit to tell us about her experience as a care-giver. So in this class, I learned the repercussions of illness on families and care-givers, as well as on the sick person.
The burden is never shared.

Culled this article from my notes. It’s been a couple of weeks of me sharing my previous articles and I think this one in particular will help anyone considering a humanities / medical humanities program. I think this kind of program is not emphasized enough as doctors, nurses and other people in the health professions need to know more about the person being treated and look at them as more than another specimen on their examination table. 

Not sure why we didn’t have to submit this review but here it is, for all.

Some readings you might be interested in exploring:

  1. My favorite! – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – a book on the life of Jean-Dominique Bauby, Editor-in-Chief of the French Elle Magazine. An accident later, Jean became trapped in his own body. He wrote this book with his left eye and an interpreter.
  2. 2nd favorite! – Wit – a play. Book version. This was the book that taught me that doctors really just see patients as specimens. The main character suffered from Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer. Her doctors treated her as what she was – a single, middle-aged woman and scholar – instead of who she was – a woman who had literally no one by her bedside till she died. I cried. 
  3. GATTACA – movie on using genetic engineering to modify humans and the ethical implications.
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