Let’s Honor the Mothers of Modern Gynecology

By: Katie Baiocchi, JD Candidate at Wake Forest University School of Law

Image from Pearson Museum, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

In August, my Facebook News Feed was flooded with images of the violence and hate that descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, motivated directly by controversy surrounding the protest and subsequent removal of Confederate monuments across the South. However, during this tumultuous time, one particular post[1] caught my attention because the monument being protested was not one erected to honor Confederate soldiers, but rather to honor the “Father of Modern Gynecology.” Furthermore, the statue being protested was not located in the South like the others, but rather Central Park, in the heart of New York City. The statue at issue celebrates a man who mutilated the bodies of black women without their consent, rather than memorializing and honoring the brave young women who suffered at his hands. I was deeply moved by the image before me and immediately disgusted by the fact that I had lived in ignorance so long about the horrors performed at the hands of Dr. James Marion Sims. Continue reading “Let’s Honor the Mothers of Modern Gynecology”

Their Stories Matter: Effectively Counseling Clients with Breast Cancer

By: Beth Gianopulos, Esq., Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

In the early 1980s, when a woman was diagnosed with breast cancer it felt like a death sentence.  At least that was the way I felt, as a 10-year-old, when my mother told me that she had breast cancer.  I immediately thought, “My mom is going to die.” After the shock of the initial diagnosis, my mother discussed treatment.  She would have a mastectomy, and all of her lymph nodes would be removed.  The results of her surgery would set the course for additional treatment.

At the time, hospitals did not allow children in hospital rooms.  After the trauma of having her breast removed and recovering from a bad reaction to anesthesia, the only way that my mother could see me, her only child, was to come down to the public lobby in a wheelchair. As I look back now, I am impressed by my mother’s strength, and saddened by the healthcare provider’s lack of understanding.  Fortunately, with new developments like family-centered care, a situation like the one my mother faced has become a rarity in today’s hospitals.  Now, children are allowed to visit their mothers in their rooms, and we involve families in the care and decisions that are made.

Over the past 20 years, enormous strides have been made in the treatment of breast cancer.  Not only is breast cancer no longer a death sentence, but many women are able to have lumpectomies or less radical surgeries.  Reconstructive surgeries have improved, and the overall understanding of the physical impact of breast cancer has grown.  However, despite these strides, a diagnosis of breast cancer still carries with it huge emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical issues.  The legal community is now beginning to understand the complexity of these issues, including the legal issues that breast cancer patients face.  Because the impact of a breast cancer diagnosis is so personal, the best way to get a glimpse of the issues facing breast cancer patients is to speak to them and hear their stories.

With the background of my personal experience with breast cancer, I decided to interview breast cancer patients to identify three or four recurring themes related to their care and treatment.  I anticipated that the patients would face a number of emotional and other issues that they may not realize could have legal implications. Of course, these issues are not isolated to only breast cancer patients, but with my mother’s experience, I felt most familiar with their experiences and am emotionally vested in this specific topic.  However, I was not prepared for the wide range of experiences I learned about, and I quickly realized that while there are many common themes for the patients, each individual’s breast cancer journey is unique. Continue reading “Their Stories Matter: Effectively Counseling Clients with Breast Cancer”

Better Babies: A Commentary on Modern Eugenics with the History of Virginia

Paco, Abiad.JPGBy: Paco Abiad, B.A. Global Public Health student at University of Virginia

I could feel it again – my mother’s gaze examining me as we sat at the coffee table. I had just updated her on my current medical status: my ongoing battle against the deadly duo of severe allergies and ever present eczema. I often joke of my unfortunate circumstances, but the one person who will never take my health lightly is my mom. She finally broke the awkward silence between us: “You know I’m so hard on you about your health because I feel guilty, right? I see you suffering and I feel responsible because I gave you bad genes.Continue reading “Better Babies: A Commentary on Modern Eugenics with the History of Virginia”

Environmental Federalism and the Protection and Preservation of Florida’s Coral Reefs

By: Charlee Fox, federal judicial clerk for the United States Court of Appeals

This commentary is an excerpt of a longer paper written for an environmental law course. 

Ten percent of the world’s coral reefs, including those found in Florida, have been destroyed beyond restoration.[1] It was estimated in 2000 that thirty percent of the world’s reefs were in critical condition.[2] Causes of corral reef depletion include: pollution, over-fishing and over-exploitation of resources, destructive fishing practices (e.g. dynamite fishing), dredging and shoreline modification (e.g. coastal development), vessel groundings and anchoring, disease outbreaks, and global climate change causing effects such as bleaching and mortality.[3] The coral reefs are protected by both state and federal regulations. Thus, it is relevant to analyze whether state regulations or environmental federalism have a greater impact on the conservation and protection of the United States coral reefs. Continue reading “Environmental Federalism and the Protection and Preservation of Florida’s Coral Reefs”

Categorizing Christian Perspectives on Capital Punishment

By: Hannah Sikes, M.Div student at Princeton Theological Seminary

The debate on capital punishment reaches across religious, political, and social barriers. In the secular sphere, both advocates for capital punishment and abolitionists fiercely argue over the legitimacy and the practicality of state employment of the death penalty.

Continue reading “Categorizing Christian Perspectives on Capital Punishment”