Friday, October 23, 2009

MedWar 2009: The Great Medical Race of Wilderness Warriors

All scenarios although seemingly real were all controlled situations, and no endangered species were actually killed during the race.

Aaron, the Nate, and I woke on a cold October morning with the sharp air piercing our lungs. We shivered either with excitement of the upcoming race or because of the 20 degree night we spent in our tents. We scarfed down the oatmeal random day old bagels and headed off to register for the race.

Team name: The Mounties
Destination: the world
Goal: Save as many as we could and make it home safely

The Rules were simple. Finish, save as many patients (mannequins) as you can, and DO NOT BECOME A REAL PATIENT. The scenario was a ten plus mile race around the world. It begin promptly, give or take fifteen minutes, at 9:15 AM.

It began in the USA with a mass canoe start. Thirty teams  of three people set off east across the lake to our first destination. As we landed at the shore somewhere in East Asia we ran to our first disaster. A bombing raid had just been carried out and civilian casualties were everywhere. We raced to the closest three bodies, assessed the scene and went to work. Aaron performed a Cricothyrotomy complete with fake blood, the Nate stopped the blood gushing from the wounded body, and I went to work on a motionless baby.

Well ahead of most of the teams we set out for our next destination, a dream of mine for a long time, Everest. When we got there we found that Aaron had come down with a severe case of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) a common pathological state in high altitude zones. In addition to that he had sustained an isolated mid shaft femur fracture as well as a severe neck injury. The cure: splint the leg, dexamethosone, and getting him down off the mountain.

Just as we got down the mountain we were instructed to board a plane (AKA walk) to Antarctica, where I was found with a severe hypothermia. Aaron instinctively got me off the ground, the Nate selflessly through his own coat on to of me and they began to build a fire. After burning through the pencil we were provided with the Nate and I came down with snow blindness in the form of goggles that were blotted out.

As we continued our journey we met with a kidnapping in South America, a man with a fishhook in his lip in Wyoming, neurotoxin poisoning in France, a safari in Africa, and finally finishing with basic survival skills in Australia. Finishing 23rd place we were tired, cold, and hungry. Ready for sleep and a hot shower.

For full details about Medwar click on the link.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pictures of University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Children's Hospital

Medical Sciences Building

The atrium of MSB

Other Side Atrium

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Special Training or Education

I am away this weekend so I am posting another secondary application essay for all the premeds out there. Others may find this amusing as well.

When presented with this question it is necessary to answer it. DO NOT LEAVE IT BLANK. Many applicants will not know what to put down here that would be seen as unique. You may see answers about EMT training, various cross cultural trips, or foreign language education, but I encourage you to think further into the past and remember what brought you to this point. There are many answers to this question, but here is the one I most often used:

As physicians we seek to do justice in the community and to treat others with compassion, but these goals are often inhibited by the separation of culture. The ability to bridge the gap between cultures is not a natural pursuit, but it is a skill that must be obtained in order to thrive in today’s increasingly multicultural world. My father gave me two very important things as I grew up: an early exposure to people of different backgrounds and a strong desire to learn how to work cross-culturally. However, the most important thing he taught me was to be a life-long learner through interaction with people from diverse backgrounds.
Throughout my childhood, I remember our house being a second home for international students studying at nearby universities. I fondly recall playing Jenga with Russian engineering students from Cleveland State University one Thanksgiving, and I clearly remember seeing our kitchen taken over by Korean music students from Oberlin Conservatory. While in college, I continued to learn how to relate to people from many backgrounds through Streetlight, a mission to the inner city of Minneapolis, and through an intercultural studies internship in 2006. Through the internship I was able to connect with people from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. I found that humility and a genuine desire to learn about someone else’s customs, traditions, language, and background opened doors to relationships that would have otherwise remained closed.
My friendships with the people of Asia began with knowledge, but knowing someone else’s language, customs, or cultural nuances alone will not break the walls between conflicting societies. These barriers are broken down through humility and the commitment to learn about another’s life. Knowledge is the beginning, but it must be guided by wisdom, driven by humility, accompanied by perseverance, and exercised with patience if we are to cross the cultural gaps and do justice among humanity.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Medvouc Update 2

Since my first time at Medvouc I can tell a large difference not only in my patient interview but also in my diagnostic and treatment ability. While there is always a doctor looking over my shoulder, I give the physician my diagnosis and treatment plan of the patient.

The first bridge that I had to cross was the lack of confidence in my decision. There is a mental block that seems to be in my mind that I am not allowed to make major treatment calls or a diagnosis from my days as an EMT in the emergency room. The last physician who was with us wanted us to be able to present the patient very systematically. The patient's name, age, chief complaint, physical exam findings, diagnosis, and treatment all needed to be ready. And after all that work done he expected to tell us, "No, here is what we will do instead."

One of the things I have appreciated about UC is the opportunities they provide to get to know the medical profession from many different aspects. From shadowing doctors in the ER to working at Medvouc, they give you ample time to crossing the gap that separates the textbooks from the clinic.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oh the Horror of Block One Exams

We sat waiting to enter the exam as R.E.M.'s "...It's the end of the world as we know it... And I feel fine..." Blared from my computer. Just a little something to the ominous atmosphere in front of the auditorium.

Medical school exams were very different in contrast to undergrad. Not only do you need to remember the information presented in class but also proper exam procedures. And the kicker is each exam has different rules, rooms, and times. No two exams are a like, but they are finally over. Some went better than others, but on the whole I am still a medical student which is the important thing. They did a really good job of spreading them out so to ease us into the exam process of medical school so that we had at least one day off in between exams.

We hit the ground running on monday with Block 2: Cardiac and Respiratory systems. The way the curriculum is set up at UC is in a block system, but instead of class blocks like histology and anatomy, we have organ or system blocks. So we learn all about the heart i.e. anatomy, embryology, physiology, histology, and clinical aspects of heart and blood vessel diseases. This is one of the reasons I chose to apply to UC is their curriculum which very few schools in the US use.

One aspect of medical school I did not anticipate was the need to adjust quickly to new instructors. I found with each new instructor I have had to adjust my note taking or use the powerpoint slides versus textbooks or just listening to the recordings. I have to be more attentive and observant with each professors teaching styles.

All in all school is going very well. I am enjoying every aspect of it including taking exams. Thanks for reading.