For the Record

For the Record is a mixed media piece displayed on a large monitor that draws attention to medical norms and practices pertaining to female reproductive health in the 20th century. The piece takes the form of an electronic medical record for a fictionalized patient, Helen Dunham, on a monitor screen. The medical document is a “SOAP” note, which documents a patient encounter using the following headings: Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. The content of this note was inspired by an early 20th century medical text called Medicology or Home Encyclopedia of Health: A Complete Family Guide by Joseph G. Richardson. This authoritative text was published in 1906 by the University Medical Society of New York, and it functioned as a guide to a range of health-related topics, including human anatomy, disease, medications and treatment, hygiene, and lifestyle.

The title of this piece references two ideas: first, the electronic medical “record,” and second, the importance of remembering and learning from historical, outdated medical teachings. The presentation of the monitor’s display is inspired using the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) interface. Parts of the screen are composed of pages of Medicology, dyed to match an Epic color scheme. The style of the text resembles both typewriter font and “doctor” handwriting scribbles in recognition of medical records/documentation pre-EMR. Interwoven with the text of the note are quotations from Medicology that represent the views of the book pertaining to issues raised in the note.

The name, demographics, and details of the patient from this note are entirely fictionalized. Any similarities or resemblances to Duke or non-Duke patients are completely coincidental.

About the Artist: Esme Trahair

I am a second-year medical student in the Primary Care Leadership Track. I was a humanities major in college and have enjoyed learning more about the medical humanities through the Moral Movements in Medicine elective and my SCOPES cohort this year. My clinical interests include pediatrics, adolescent psychiatry, and family medicine, and at Duke, I have been involved with Wellnest (Root Causes), the Holton Clinic, and the Student Faculty Show. Outside of school, I love running, finding new ice cream places in Durham, and being dragged to yoga by my roommate once in a blue moon.