The Melquiades Project

an experiment in the precision of unconventional communication

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"I think you'll understand..."


About a year ago, I was slogging through gross anatomy. My long-time followers (hello, Parents! *wave* ) will recall that I mostly did not love cadaver lab. I valued it. I learned from it. I appreciated it. But I found it really emotionally challenging, much more so than I expected to. I didn’t…

beautiful anatomy reflection…dissection is hard

One of my last memories from anatomy lab was when I was studying for our last practical and I just suddenly realized that one of the cadavers had painted fingernails. The polish was a sparkly bright green (rivaling the diamonds found when the gallbladder is broached) that stood out from the muted beiges, grays and pinks that the embalmed body usually comprises. I imagined this woman painting her nails wherever she had been before she passed and gave her body to us. It was so overwhelming. Anatomy lab is hard.

Filed under anatomy medscho

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For those who like a dose of science with their coffee.

The patterns in these Retroviral mugs by Thefty depict the microscopic structure of the Herpes, Rabies and HIV viruses, revealing the beauty of biology even in its deadliest form.

5p from the sale of each one is donated to the London School of Hygiene 

I’m…going to need these

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Artist on Tumblr

Nunzio Paci | on tumblr (b.1977, Italy)

Nunzio Paci is an artist living and working in Italy. His whole work deals with the relationship between man and Nature, in particular with animals and plants. The focus of his observation is body with its mutations. The intention is to explore the infinite possibilities of life, in search of a balance between reality and imagination. © All images courtesy of the artist

[more Nunzio Paci | artist recommended by fer1972]

(via md-admissions)

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Outcomes of Care for 16,924 Planned Home Births in the United States: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004 to 2009 - Cheyney - 2014 - Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health


This 2014 article is the biggest study to date to analyze medical records (as opposed to just reviewing birth certificate data) and compare outcomes of low-risk pregnancies delivered at home vs in hospital. A couple of fascinating findings:

  • Caesarean-section (C-section) rates for low-risk home births: 5.2%
  • Meanwhile, C-section rates for low-risk hospital births in the US: 31%
  • 89% of women completed the birth at home rather than being transferred to hospital. (The other 11% mainly transferred due to Failure to Progress).
  • Only 1% of babies born at home required transfer to the hospital after birth, and most transfers were for non-urgent conditions.
  • Babies born to low-risk mothers at home had no higher risk of death in labor or the first few weeks of life than those in comparable studies of similarly low-risk pregnancies delivered in hospital.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, but both of our sons were planned to be home-births. We had to transfer to hospital with the first because the labor was just going WAY too long (27 hours is plenty, wouldn’t you say?) and the Mrs. needed some pain relief; but the second son was born at home. Neither child had any adverse outcomes, praise God.

Before we had our first child, it took me a LONG time (years, really) to come to grips with the idea of “home birth” — and this was AFTER my medical training, which included delivering over 50 low-risk babies! Thankfully, we found a very patient, well-trained and well-spoken midwife who was able to assuage all of my doctorly misgivings (and frankly, on some points, misinformation) re: the risks of attempting to complete our low-risk pregnancies at home. Now, reading this study makes me even more certain (retrospectively) that we made the right choices for our family.

Certainly, there is still a HUGE need for in-hospital, MD-managed deliveries (including C-sections), most obviously among “high-risk” pregnancies — but as rates of “unplanned”/”elective” C-sections (with the known adverse outcomes and financial costs they entail) continue to rise among low-risk mothers/babies in hospital births, I have come to believe that the medical community owes it to all future parents and babies to:

  • read the research
  • assuage our fears of the unknown
  • acknowledge some of our unfounded biases against the midwives and/or home-births and/or “a baby being born without an ICD-10 code being generated”, and
  • be willing to “allow” (and even promote — gasp!) midwife-managed home-births for a greater proportion of low-risk pregnancies in the US.

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That’s how you know you love someone, I guess, when you can’t experience anything without wishing the other person were there to see it, too.
Kaui Hart Hemmings, The Descendants (via seabois)

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