The Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 24, 2000

January 24, 2000
VOL. 29, NO. 19

'Stunning' news about heart failure
Violence against women same around world
Brain chemistry, behavior in child-rearing male voles resemble mouse moms'
Peabody gets grant to mentor music teachers in schools
Frosty's back in town
SAIS program for former Peace Corps workers
Pianist's multimedia recital to commemorate Chopin
Researchers identify liver toxicity risk of AIDS drugs
Side effects of prostate surgery less when performed by specialist
Routine preoperative tests for cataract surgery are unnecessary
Gettysburg to Moscow: 'Odyssey' continues
In Brief
Employment Opportunities
Classified Ads
Weekly Notices
Weekly Calendar
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Peabody's littlest students
First, the applause in the room peters out. Then, almost before everyone can catch his breath, the class begins another song, as tiny voices mix with deeper, more robust intonations in a churchlike chorus. In midsong, one class member turns her back to the group and kneels down. It appears that a tiny hole in the thin blue carpet has caught her attention, and she feels obliged to put her finger into the hole to test its authenticity. Nobody seems to mind her dropping out of the performance--that is, until two large arms come soaring down to scoop her up and reposition her to face the small circle of singers. Undaunted, the little girl picks up where she left off.
   "Humpty Dumpty had a big fall," she sings in unison with the rest. Well, actually, for some, the words come out sounding more like "Umpty Dunty," but they know the tune.
   The students who gather on a Saturday morning in Peabody Preparatory's room 119 are quickly forgiven if their attention strays, and are regularly applauded just for trying. One of the major goals in this class is to just have fun. Full story...

Premeds get a glimpse of humanistic aspect of doctoring
As an associate professor emeritus of general surgery at the School of Medicine, Ronald Fishbein says he's known some rather elite, gold-medal-quality physicians in his day. He mentions various doctors who have elevated surgery to a higher art form, and clinicians who could spout off the entire history of a disease, both backwards and forwards.
   But some of these people lacked one fundamental trait, a lack that prohibited them, at least in Fishbein's eyes, from becoming truly great physicians. That trait, he says, is genuine human compassion.
   Fishbein agrees with the assessment--put forth in a number of recent articles in prominent magazines, newspapers and medical journals--that there is in this country a growing number of health professionals who lack empathy for their patients. One of the factors attributed to this trend is that in this era of the HMO doctors are under increasing economic pressure to see more patients, thus spending less time with each. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has gone so far as to chair a council that is now training physicians in communication skills in an effort to improve their bedside manner. Full story...

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