This Story took my breath away….

edward gelano embraces



Fifteen years ago I became caught up in a story that I have told on numerous public occasions, sometime reading it, sometimes telling it from memory.

This story is by the South American writer Eduardo Galeano, and it is titled “Christmas Eve.”

Fernando Silva ran the children’s hospital in Managua. On Christmas Eve, he worked late into the night. Firecrackers were exploding and fireworks lit up the sky when Fernando decided it was time to leave. They were expecting him at home to celebrate the holiday.

He took one last look around, checking to see that everything was in order, when he heard cottony footsteps behind him. He turned to find one of the sick children walking after him. In the half light he recognized the lonely, doomed child. Fernando recognized the face already lined with death and those eyes asking for forgiveness, or perhaps permission.

Fernando walked over to him and the boy gave him his hand. “Tell someone . . “ the child whispered. ”Tell someone I’m here.”

—Arthur Frank

Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-Narratology

Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010:4

Dr Alya Blogs

These are kids too, living on the border of Syria and Lebanon

The number of children displaced by war continue to occur and these children have been born and raised in refugee camps for the past 6 years. They are the survivors of a system they did not endorse or create. They are “schooled” “housed”and “cared” for pretty much on their own with only their mothers and some men to provide. If they are healthy they live longer, if not they have to make do. Yet, they play like all kids, they laugh, they joke, they wonder, and they embrace.  Nov 2016



Stories of Medicine- Real Accounts (personal identifying information has been changed in order to protect the privacy and identity of patients)

Dr Alya…. A long time coming


Dr Alya … Welcome to this Site

It’s been a long time coming, but here it is, my own website, blog site, and more. The Stories told here are real. It is a collection of narratives of medicine. We physicians only see and understand part of the story, there is so much more we need to know, feel, and gather, and even that is not enough. Narrative medicine teaches us that the stories of patients, their lives intertwined with illness, recovery, and the unsurmountable is a reflection of who we are as a society. With the filter of electronic record, meaningful use, checklists, order sets, and algorithm- based data science takes us a measure away from actually bearing witness to what really heals patients. Knowing who our patients are, their lives, their struggles, limitations, and strengths is also vital to care.

Thus, I write in order to convey some small part of that narrative. I or my interpretation of my experience in medicine may not be all, but I hope it begins the conversation of how we as healers can look beyond the filters.

baby-beautiful-blur-322070 (1)