Monday, July 8, 2013

So Close to Paradise

Today was our first official day at Vanderbilt. Unfortunately we seemed to have missed a lot yesterday because I was clueless to what some of the girls were talking about. Since it was the first day our proctor, Kathleen, took us all to the dining hall. We got there at about 8:05 AM and it was already filled with people. It was just like going to a new school... well it is. I had to wander around to look for a seat and some girls were nice enough to invite me to join them. After breakfast we head towards our designated classes led to by our teacher assistant, Vivian.

Scrub Machine
At first I thought that our class was held in the regular Vanderbilt campus and a few were at the medical school. But to my amazement, ALL of our classes are going to be held at the medical school! To add to that awesomeness we got Vanderbilt University Medical Center ID cards and scrubs! However we won't be able to keep the scrubs, insert sad face, but it's still awesome. I'm completely over the moon. But I'm ahead of myself because all this did not happen until after lunch. Of course, my class is MED School 101 and I had not one, not two but three instructors. Mary, Jon, and Jake are medical school students who have finished their third year and they are all taking a year off to get their master's degree. They created the course based on their own medical school experience and they had many professors and lecturers to help them teach.

Our first guest speaker was Dean Bonnie M. Miller. She is the person who is in charge of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and she is also a trained general surgeon. She showed us an old painting called "The Doctor". The painting has a doctor who seems to be thinking hard and next to him is an unconscious little girl. In the background is the father who is trying to comfort the crying and praying mother. We talked about doctors in the 1790 and how they are so limited. Then she showed us a photo she recently took of a sick infant who had a ventilator to help him/her breath and his/her mother is by his bed. We talked about how much technology and medicine have advanced. The four months old baby would have survived despite his congenital heart malformation while the little girl of five or six would have died of a mere fever. She then asked us to think about where we would be 15 years from now and what we would be doing. In 15 years I will probably be three years into my medical career unless I decided to choose another branch of medicine. Dr. Miller reminded us of how far technology might be and how the medicine would be practiced. That immediately had me questioning my career path. I choose to be a doctor someday because I love to help people, I love the doctor-patient interaction and of course I love studying biology. If right now we have machines that can do surgery, then what would it be like 15 years from now? I wouldn't be as satisfied with my job as I liked if I couldn't practice medicine as humanly as possible.

The next guess speaker was Dr. Churchill who works with ethical questions and policy. He talked to us about the ethical choices that doctors had to make. We had a lengthy discussion about how to prevent obesity, which was recently classified as a disease. He asked us if it was right to charge people who get obesity treatments extra for their health care premium. While most of the class thought that it was right, I disagreed. Most of them all seem to think that it's people's fault that they are obese. Coming from an area where McDonalds is cheaper than healthy food, I know that many low class families really doesn't have much of a choice. I sure we have all been to the store and see a bottle of soda for sale at ninety-nine cents and a bottle of water would cost two dollars. If you were struggling and penny-pinching what would you pick? Of course there are people out there who are well informed and they know exactly what they are eating. There are many ways to look at this situation and it's a slippery slope wherever you tread. Dr. Churchill also talked to us about an assisted suicide case that he came across. I could not choose whether to agree or disagree because both side was really delicate. Till this day the doctor still questioned the right and wrong of how he handled the case.

After two lecturers, we took a long break for lunch. Our third and final speaker for the day was Dr. Bonnie's assistant. She showed us a video on proper protocol regarding how to be safe and clean in the hospital environment. She then went over HIPAA (Health Insurance Portabilities and Accountabilities Act) with us so we know that as doctors you have to keep patient's information to yourself and those involved in the patient's care. We had two short quizzes to make sure we understand what was going on. After the session we were assigned our clinic day. Mine is tomorrow.

After the class we had our Arete activities. Out of the many that I listed, they gave me origami class and Thomas was there too. It turned out to be really fun. We made birds that had flapping wings and leaping frog. The class lasted for about one hour but it felt shorter than that.

I get to go to the clinic tomorrow! Today was just perfect and I really can't wait for tomorrow.

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