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Pectoriloquy |

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Doug Hester, MD
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Editor’s Note:The author writes, “As someone who facilitates cadaver and simulation education, I wonder if there is a hidden curriculum in this kind of teaching. This poem explores the tension between explicit and implicit education of such workshops.” Doug Hester, M.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University. His research interests are in difficult airway management and resident education.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;146(2):527. doi:10.1378/chest.13-3010
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Published online

All morning we practice
procedures we pray
are only academic.
They teach us
to feel
above the ribs,
to fuse finger with forceps
and force it all
through the pleura.
We cut thoracotomies
to examine our efforts:
exemplar, adequate, lethal.
After Hs and Ts,
we pericardiocentese
fabricated tamponades.
We end
at the beginning:
the airway.
We slice necks,
curl plastic
under cricoids.
Throughout the workshop,
they never let us stop
to discuss what
we are actually doing.
And maybe that’s
the true curriculum.


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