Reflections Hear what Slotnick Fellows Have to Say

Luke Karaelias, MD

Attending Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, French Hospital Medical Center and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, San Louis Obispo, California
Fellow, 2002

My first day at what was then known as the LA Free Clinic, Laurie Goodman handed me a thick binding of printed pages, a personal reproduction of Jim Slotnick’s memoirs, A Short Life. It was not short on pages, nor was it short on emotional depth for that matter. To this day, I can distinctly recall the brutal honesty and vivid insights held within those pages. The book made me laugh and it also made me sad. Most importantly, it made me really think outside myself and recognize the world around me, a crucial aspect of being a complete physician. When paired with the mission and service of the Clinic, my contained and constricted life as a medical student broadened beyond the textbooks and into a lasting reminder of what is true, what is important, what it means to communicate, and what merits recognition.

To this day, I continually try to put special emphasis on the importance of not just treating the disease, but also treating patients in a manner that preserves their dignity and maintains their autonomy. I can say with certainty that all my experiences through the Jim Slotnick Fellowship played a pertinent role in helping me to develop and maintain this important focus. I would like to think that the Fellowship has made me a better person, and I can never give sufficient thanks to Jim, his family, friends and all those that carry on his legacy, for having given me the opportunity for such immense personal growth.