Documenting Medicine

  1. By Liisa Ogburn & Dr. John Moses
    Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

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  2. Cardiac arrest is a common cause of cardiovascular death claiming the lives of more than 380,000 Americans per year. Survival from cardiac arrest is very low. Here in North Carolina, only 12% of cardiac arrest victims survive. The ability to perform CPR rapidly is a critical first step to increasing the chances for survival. Unfortunately, only 17% of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR in North Carolina.

    I worked to create this documentary after caring for a particular cardiac arrest victim in the Duke Critical Care Unit (CCU) in April of 2011. This middle-aged vibrant female experienced cardiac arrest while exercising. She ultimately received CPR for more than 50 minutes. Doctors were pessimistic about her chances of survival or any meaningful neurologic recovery. Her family, however, remained hopeful despite the odds. Over a course of 72 days, Stacy made a remarkable recovery regaining the ability to walk, speak, and function independently. Today, Stacy lives a normal life. Her husband, Eddie, ends in the documentary urging all Americans to learn CPR in order to save the life of a loved one.
    - Dr. Monique Anderson

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  4. John Moses is a primary care pediatrician and a documentary photographer based at Duke University. He has been using documentary photography to explore the intersection of social and medical issues for the last fifteen years. In this talk, Dr. Moses shared his photographs of adolescent parents in North Carolina (published in the book The Youngest Parents); portraits of pioneering primary care physicians (published in Big Doctoring in America: Profiles in Primary Care); and a current series of portraits of young gun crime victims. Dr. Moses teaches two courses at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies: Medicine and the Vision of Documentary Photography and Children and the Experience of Illness wherein children with chronic illness are paired up with student mentors and taught how to use a camera as a means of expression. He is currently producing a book that will showcase the photographs of children coping with illness.

    Documenting Medicine is a program at Duke University which provides Duke physician residents and fellows with the tools and training to use documentary as a way to get to know and better understand patients and their families, as well as care-givers. As part of this program, we host a monthly lecture by documentarians who have produced work in the medical world. For more information, visit: documentingmedicine.com/ To view additional talks in this series, visit: vimeo.com/channels/documentingmedicine

    This program is a partnership between the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and the Graduate Medical Education Department at Duke. Pilot funding has been provided by the Chancellor's Innovation Fund. The Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and the History of Medicine has sponsored several of the talks on this channel.

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  5. This year, about 2.5 million Americans will die. About 900,000 of them, or three in ten, will get hospice care in their last weeks or months. Hospice is specialized care for terminally ill patients with less than six months to live. Its workers and volunteers often develop close personal relationships with their patients, exploring emotional, psychological and spiritual questions as well as medical ones. In this story, John Biewen followed one hospice patient through the last two months of her life.

    John Biewen directs the audio program at the Center for Documentary Studies, where he teaches and produces documentary work for NPR, Public Radio International, and other audiences. His reporting and documentary work has taken him across the United States and to Europe, Japan, and India. Biewen teaches undergraduates and continuing education students in the Certificate in Documentary Studies programs at CDS.

    From John’s notebook, “I saw Kitty Shenay about once a week for the last two months of her life. The experience was poignant. Towards the end it was disturbing, even shocking. One day she was frail but fully present and sharp-witted, days later she'd become a near corpse, unconscious and struggling for her last breaths. And, indeed, a few hours after that I looked upon her actual corpse…It was emotional. I wiped away tears several times in Kitty's presence, and many more times while listening back to her tender moments with her daughters and with her nurse, Roland Siverson. But depressing? No. In fact, I found the experience curiously uplifting…” To hear the entire piece, or read John’s reflections on producing this piece, visit: americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/hospice/notebook.html

    In 2010, the Duke Graduate Medical Education Innovation Fund provided seed funding to pilot Documenting Medicine, which pairs Duke physician residents and fellows with documentarians at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies to produce documentary work exploring medical issues.

    For more information on this program, a schedule of future talks and resources for healthcare workers who wish to produce documentary work, visit: documentingmedicine.com/ or contact Liisa Ogburn at liisa.ogburn@duke.edu

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Documenting Medicine

Liisa Ogburn Plus

Documenting Medicine is a program at Duke University which provides Duke physician residents and fellows with the tools and training to use documentary as a way to get to know and better understand patients and their families, as well as care-givers.


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Documenting Medicine is a program at Duke University which provides Duke physician residents and fellows with the tools and training to use documentary as a way to get to know and better understand patients and their families, as well as care-givers. As part of this program, we host a monthly lecture by documentarians who have produced work in the medical world. For more information, visit: documentingmedicine.com/

This program is a partnership between the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and the Graduate Medical Education Department at Duke. Pilot funding has been provided by the Chancellor's Innovation Fund. The Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and the History of Medicine has sponsored several of the talks on this channel.

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