Medical Residents To Receive Education On Health Effects Of Climate Change

Environment: NPR


Teaching doctors about the health effects of climate change is growing from medical schools to the residency programs where new physicians put their skills to the test. But skeptics wonder if it's appropriate for doctors to learn how climate change can affect Human Health Martha Bebinger of member station W. R. in Boston Begins Her story in clinic exam room. I just remember for so many months it was hard for you to walk. There are three people in this exam room doctor Gora. A resident he's training and seventy one year old Steve Kerns who is recovering from West Nile virus, Kerns remembers the mosquito bite on his neck but very little about the brain infection that landed him in the hospital for a week for at least six months after that. I felt like every five minutes I was being run over by a truck I couldn't work. I couldn't walk very well. And I couldn't focus. A wondered for bit if I'd ever get better now, almost two years later Kern says he's back to about five hours a day on the job making windows and doors, and he started reading again the sounds like you've made tremendous progress. Dr. Charlotte Roses is a third year primary care resident at Cambridge Hospital. It seems like tremendous progress. that. It was scary. It was scary. It was it was definitely scary us and I'm not scared anymore although. Can I get worse now over again, Dr seuss sympathizes with the fear West Nile is still rare. There were no cases in Massachusetts before two thousand and two in two, thousand, eighteen year a mosquito bit kerns cases had climbed to forty nine mosquitoes love warm temperatures and so when temperatures increase mosquitoes can have breeding seasons the virus itself West alka replicate faster and they. Bite more more active Basu learned a lot of this while treating, Kerns. He was buses i West Nile case when someone comes in with a fever and his confused, it's not what my mind thinks of as the diagnosis right away. This case has really taught me how much I need to be informed about the ways in which climate change is changing the patterns of infectious. Disease. Around the United States to inform his residence busu added the health impacts of climate change to an elective courses teaches Ross says residents need much more. This is something that needs to be more directly integrated into the curriculum because I think it's going to have such a huge impact on human health. There are no approved curricula for hospitals that might want to tell emerging. Lung specialists about longer pollen seasons as temperatures rise or teach new emergency room physicians to consider more waterborne diseases for patients with fever and diarrhea. But Pediatrician Rebecca Phillips born at Emory University has just published. A framework hospitals can use as a starting point. Patients want physicians to be able to provide guidance on things that affect their individual help. We have this accumulating body of. That climate change does just that it poses harms to our patients Dr Stanley Goldfarb, the former associate dean for curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's medical school says hospitals trained doctors not. He worries that discussing climate change with patients might create mistrust I. Think there are concerns about getting into the political sphere because I'm against anything that's going to. represent a barrier between patients and physicians being comfortable with each other other physicians. See Wildfires, sweeping western states and hurricanes flooding the Gulf coast and say, we want to impart this information to our residents as fast as we can because it's so important that they gain this information sooner than later advocates say including climate change in residency training won't stick and tell doctors are tested on the health effects before they are licensed to practice medicine for NPR news I'm Martha Bebinger in Boston.

Coming up next