During my pediatric rotation, we have daily noon conferences, where fellows and attendings share common topics in their respective fields. While most of these sessions are designated for pediatric boards prep, some of them are not. One of which I distinctly remember: On Magic and Medicine.
A pediatric ED physician shared how he used magic tricks with his pediatric patients. With the help of various props, we spent an hour not only learning magic tricks we can use with patients, but we also talked about the parallels between magic and medicine. One of the key topics the doctor shared was how to reduce stress and anxiety amongst pediatric patients in the ED. Kids often have a fear of the doctor, lurking over in his long white coat, which makes treating a patient difficult. Additionally, pediatric patients often don’t understand what is going on and why they need to have blood drawn, fluids placed and medications started. They just feel the pain. Creating a safe space for kids where they can trust their provider helps remove much of that anxiety.
One statement that stuck with me was that “Being a magician was not about technology. It’s about the relationship. It’s about meaning.” And it’s the same with medicine. “ Taking time to be with the patient–despite all the paperwork–is essential.
It would be a great thing to see more interdisciplinary approaches to medicine, from magicians and beyond!