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Putting Myself in Her Shoes

My attending handed me Mrs. Green’s* (name changed to protect the patient’s privacy) chart, led me to the door, and entered the room to speak to the patient. I opened the chart and glanced at the first page: middle-aged female. BMI= morbidly obese. Chief complaint: chest pain and shortness of breath. As my attending exited the room, I entered and promptly greeted the patient, washing my hands, and sitting in a chair next to her bed. Continue Reading →

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A Death in Haiti

It was my first full day in Haiti. I had arrived the day before, both excited and nervous to begin my summer volunteer experience as an EMT-Basic at Hospital Bernard Mevs in Port-au-Prince, the only trauma hospital in the entire country, and to learn more about healthcare delivery in a developing country. I was assigned to help out between the triage area and the Emergency Department (ED). The triage area consisted of two cots, along with several chairs for patients, and the ED had two beds. I do not remember exactly what this patient’s complaint was when she came in, but I remember listening to her lungs and being excited about hearing crackles for the first time. I remember her son was very friendly, was wearing a bright purple shirt, and asked me numerous times if his mother was going to be okay. I said, numerous times, that I was not sure. He asked me what I thought was wrong with her, and I remember one of the Haitian doctors saying that maybe she had pneumonia and I passed along this information to him. He asked again if she was going to be okay, and without thinking and since he had asked me so many times before, I replied, “Yes, I think so”. Continue Reading →

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Just wait.

You’re familiar with the scene. A bright-eyed recruit fresh out of boot camp is eager for the front lines when he is abruptly put in his place by the hardened veteran. “You just wait,” he tells the private, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

It’s funny how easily this scene translates into the world of medicine. As you might expect, before anyone becomes a doctor, they must take a string of exams and venture through more levels of education than Dante’s Inferno. At each step along the way, we are constantly looking to the people on the path before us to get their input and knowledge; this happens so often that my roommate and I have a running joke about it. Amidst the helpful advice and pearls of wisdom there is usually a subtle grain of sand embedded somewhere in their discourse:

“Just wait.” Continue Reading →

Parallel-Wallpaper

Finding Inspiration

I originally decided to come to medical school because of an interest in child & adolescent psychiatry. Unsure of what I wanted to do after graduating with my BA in psychology in May of 2009, I had the opportunity to live, work, and travel to numerous places. The first place that I lived post-graduation was a small town in Southeast Alaska. I worked as a Behavioral Health Technician for a nonprofit organization in an afterschool program for children with a variety of behavioral health issues. I witnessed first-hand the “physician shortage”—with one psychiatrist traveling around all of Southeast Alaska. He stopped in my town a few days per month, mainly to re-prescribe meds. I watched a highly-intelligent boy that was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder at a very young age go through withdrawals and have to be sent to inpatient rehab in a bigger city when it was realized that his correct diagnosis was Asperger’s. I watched another child, with low-functioning autism, get “discontinued” from our program because we did not have the resources or the training to be able to address his needs as well as the needs of our many other clients. As our program was the only one of its kind in this fishing village on a remote island with 17 miles of paved road, there was nowhere else for this boy’s family to send him in town. Through this experience, I decided that this is something that I could do—I identified a need and a way I could help. I would become a doctor. Continue Reading →

neurology

To the future Dr. Griscom

To the future Dr. Griscom,

I hope all is well in your life. Despite my busy schedule right now as a first-year medical student, I am sure that you are as busy as ever seeing patients every day. I hope that healthcare has continued to change into a system that provides for both you and the patient. It cracks me up to think that you might have your own family. I hope you have found a beautiful, thoughtful, and loving friend to spend the rest of your life with – you deserve it. As someone who will always remain a kid at heart, I hope you have not lost your youthful spirit with your children. I know they will have a very caring father, and I hope you are providing your family with something more than an income. Do not let your practice consume you to the point that you miss out on the loves of your life. Continue Reading →

#BlackLivesMatter

White Coats For Black Lives

The hashtags #Blacklivesmatter and #whitecoats4blacklives have been dominating social media for the past month. Pictures of people protesting and medical students participating in “die-in” demonstrations at their medical schools have also surfaced. How did we end up here? Racial tension between African Americans and the police has been a longstanding, controversial issue. Only July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died after a white police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put him in a chokehold, even though he repeated to the police officer, “I can’t breathe.” The grand jury decided not to indict Officer Pantaleo based on a lack of evidence. One month later, an African American teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer named Darren Wilson. The jury did not have enough evidence to indict Officer Wilson of any wrongdoing. However, political unrest swept the nation because many people believed that the Eric Garner and Michael Brown’s deaths were due to the color of their skin. Continue Reading →

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Remember Us

photo by: Wesley Parker

Remember us. It’s a simple enough request. Or is it? Recently through my experiences in the anatomy lab, I’ve learned that it is so easy to lose sight of the human part in medicine (i.e. treating patients as people and not just problems to solve). Reflecting upon my time in the lab with our cadavers, I penned this poem for the Class of 2018’s Gift of Body Ceremony, which was a time where our whole class took a moment to truly appreciate the gift our donors have given us. I hope I can continue to remember the message behind these words.

“Remember Us. For we too have lived, loved, and laughed.”
This request—this command—I find it a curious epitaph
That the one who lies beneath it would—with his last breath—
Pen these words above his head to memorialize his death.
The size of the stone is enormous, the thing must have cost a fortune
And so I’d expect a whole life story, reveling in his great deeds and glory,
But what I read is much more boring. Just these ten words, and nothing more. Continue Reading →

USC-Greenville HSEB

Interested in attending the USC School of Medicine Greenville? Some Helpful Tips from the Office of Admissions

Guest Post: On occasion, we accept guest submissions to the blog.  Today’s post was written and submitted by the USCSOMG Office of Admissions.

This is the special time of year when future physicians are considering the right school to pursue their medical education. We, the USC School of Medicine Greenville Admissions team, are excited you are considering our school’s one-of-a-kind program.

Our team is dedicated to making the application and admissions process, which could seem daunting, as straightforward as possible. In fact, in today’s post, we hope to provide some useful information about USCSOMG’s entire process. Continue Reading →

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Update: Under The Knife

For those of you who are avid readers of our blog, you may recall a previous post of mine last spring that discussed my future hip surgery, and how the process of injury and surgery might enhance my understanding as a physician. Lessons have definitely been learned from this experience, and I would like to share an update! Continue Reading →

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Cat vs. Bath: A Metaphor for Life

As you may have realized by now, I really enjoy sharing pictures of my cat. He makes me laugh, which is something you desperately need on a daily basis in the second year of medical school. However, he also reminds me of the struggles of medical school quite often. I feel like his struggles often coincide with mine. Let’s compare M2 test week with car rides for Rocky. M2 test week is monumentally more stressful than M1. I do not know why, and some people would probably disagree with me. But I find them terrifying and anxiety provoking. A torture that seems unnecessary and unending. I find myself annoying my friends and family whining day in and day out about just how hard it is. Continue Reading →