Under The Knife

The academic year at USC SOMG is drawing to a close. The M2’s are in hiding, busy studying for the biggest exam of their lives. The M1’s are in their last module, immunology, counting down the days until we get more than one day off of thinking so hard. But being the Type A students that we are, I know many of us in the M1 class have great plans for the summer. Some have internships planned, a trip out of the country, medical mission work, research, shadowing, weddings, and maybe even some time at the beach. My medical experience this summer is going to be slightly different.

This summer, I get the chance to experience the medical world as a patient. I’ve been a patient plenty of times in my past, but this is the first serious experience I’ve had since I started training to be a physician. I’ve heard it said that doctors make the worst patients; well, I am not quite yet a doctor, but I think my attitude and outlook on this experience is going to be different from my past. Two days after our last day of school, I will be going “under the knife” for surgery on my hip. It’s called a periacetabular osteotomy – doctor-speak for a procedure where my hip socket will be realigned to accommodate the head of my femur bone. I’m flying to Minnesota to be in surgery for about 2-3 hours and will remain in the hospital for 2-3 days. Here we go!

Aside from the awesome research project I have the opportunity to work on for school, I don’t think my crutches will help me have a lot of medical educational experiences. But who says I can’t learn something from the surgery? Aside from the massive amount of brain-melting information that has been thrown at us this year, a very important component of our curriculum has been teaching us what makes a great physician, our bedside manner. We’ve been practicing our communication skills, our empathy, and our ability to help our patients change their lifestyles. What better way to continue my training than see how physicians at the Mayo Clinic go about their work? The next few months can really give me a better idea of how I would like to be treated as a patient, and the challenges people can face. An experience like this can really help me learn how to be a better doctor and shape my future.

The M1 class is a diverse group, and we all have our own experiences as patients. Many of us have interesting histories. It’s experiences like this that sometimes inspire students to pursue a career in medicine, and they become very passionate, empathetic doctors.

Needless to say, my summer may not be full of fun, sun, and time in the hospital as a student, but I will be obligated to sit back, relax, and learn from my own physicians. And perhaps finish the Game of Thrones novels.



Laura Simon

Laura Simon

I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, but have lived in Greenville for the past 13 years. I graduated with a degree in Biochemistry in May 2013 at Virginia Tech, where I swam for the varsity team. My pursuit of a career in medicine began with my interest in biochemistry and physiology. I really enjoy reaching out to my community and interacting with people. I am excited to begin my medical career and make an impact at USC School of Medicine Greenville, where I can become a well-rounded, compassionate and successful physician, improving the lives of my patients.

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