Session #3: paediatric/childhood texts

As a preface, we looked at this floor plan of part of a hospital and I asked the group to see if they could spot any issues with it.

And in fairness, the unfairness of men having three urinals and two cubicles while women only have two cubicles was identified by one of the fellas. I then read and we discussed an extract about toilet design from this extract from Caroline Criado-Perez’s book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

But even if male and female toilets had an equal number of stalls, the issue wouldn’t be resolved, because women take up to 2.3 times as long as men to use the toilet.


I then read & we discussed a poem I had chanced upon in a journal called Alt. It’s called ‘Delivery Room in December’ by Maria Finch. It’s powerful.

My heart latched to you as they wheeled you away
Leaving this husk of lost luggage behind
A cavernous ravenous vessel
That expelled life and then inhaled fear
As eyes locked mine and named me as your own.


We then read and discussed as we went Lucy Caldwell’s brilliant story, ‘Multitudes’:


Finally, I read them and we interpreted Julia Donaldson’s The Magic Paintbrush, about the ultra assertive, Shen, as a metaphor for medical training.


2 thoughts on “Session #3: paediatric/childhood texts

  1. Hi and thank you for your post. I’m really interested to know what themes were identified from your interpretation of The Magic Paintbrush – as a doctor I have read this to my children but don’t know any other doctors who have reflected on the story in relation to their medical training. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for your interest, Sati. I use it to get the students to reflect on where our priorities lie in terms of healthcare provision & health spend. The majority of our resources are directed at/taken by the “wealthy folk”, it seems to me. You’ll find more about the analogies I draw between the story & medicine here It generally prompts a good bit of debate and occasionally a bit of resistance.

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