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My first day of medical school, back in the 1980s, I met my cadaver in anatomy lab, and I named her, to help me humanize a disturbing transition into the harsh world of medicine. But science quickly became for me both a science as well as an art.
The goal was to learn to be dispassionate enough to perform the necessary treatments, using the tools I was quickly acquiring, yet not sacrifice my humanity in the process. That was and has always been the goal.
Luckily, I shared that goal with all my fellow medical students as we learned to examine and analyze bodily organs and how they functioned. We also learned that this amazing physiological and anatomic reality was shared among all our patients. None were better than the others. All were equal in the eyes of science, and yes, of God.
This has been the goal of medicine since the time of Hippocrates. Everyone is equal, no one is discriminated against.
This sense of equality was amplified during my residency at Bellevue hospital in New York City at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s.
We took all