Reflections Hear what Slotnick Fellows Have to Say

Matthew R. Morrell, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of the Lung Transplant Fellowship and the Pulmonary Stepdown Unit, 
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Fellow, 2000

The summer of 2000 was an eventful one for me. I had just completed my first year of medical school, was getting married and was chosen as a Jim Slotnick Fellow. My first day at The Los Angeles Free Clinic was very overwhelming as the waiting room was packed with patients, many of whom did not have medical insurance. The sincere gratitude that I received in return for just simply checking an elderly woman’s blood pressure or listening to a homeless man’s lungs to assess for pneumonia was very humbling. The other volunteers and staff at the Clinic made me realize that life was precious; it was very easy to go about my day with little concern for the people that I saw on the busy streets of Los Angeles. I learned that everybody has the right to be treated equally, with respect and empathy. I learned that the practice of medicine meant more than just prescribing an antibiotic or offering general advice; a true physician attempts to heal the ailing body as well as the troubled soul. Presently, I strive to show the same attributes of compassion and respect for my patients that I developed during my time as a Jim Slotnick Fellow.