Jen – Final Thoughts

When I first arrived at Stony Brook Hospital, I was taken to get my ID. Dr. Denoya was in the OR for her first case of the day. I was then told I would be joining her in the OR for the second case of the day, which started around noon. On my first day at SBH, I was able to observe an open colon resection. My second day consisted of following Dr. Denoya to a full day of clinic. On clinic days, I found myself learning the most. I was exposed to a variety of patient complaints – from a simple post-operation follow-up to a new patient consult. From my time with Dr. Denoya, my knowledge on colorectal surgery has expanded tremendously.

The unimaginable things that could happen to your body were plentiful. I never knew that your rectum could prolapse, as a result of weak pelvic floor muscles. I never knew that hemorrhoids were classified by grade I-IV, and that there were internal vs. external hemorrhoids. I never knew that sitting on the toilet for too long could lead to hemorrhoid problems. Valuable lesson to be learned – Eat your fiber! A popular treatment for some problems that Dr. Denoya sees in the clinic seems to be to increase fiber intake.

I have decided that I want to attend medical school and become a physician. This was not always the case. When I first went into this experience, I was leaning towards PA school. I knew I wanted to work in healthcare but I was not sure whether medical school was right for me. After learning more about medical school and residency from Dr. Denoya and her residents, I realized that becoming a physician was a dream I wanted to make a reality. Although the application process for medical school, residency, and fellowship will be time-consuming and challenging, I have gained the motivation and confidence to start the process of becoming a physician.

My experience shadowing Dr. Denoya has definitely changed my plans for after graduation. Per her suggestion, I will try to get more involved in the field of research before applying to medical school. I would also like to get more clinical experience by working in a hospital as a scribe or a CNA. I’m not 100% sure how my day-to-day would look like after graduation. But it’s okay. I realized that everyone’s journey to medical school is different. I’m thinking about taking some time off to work before I apply to medical school.

I would like to end this blog post by saying thanks. Thank you to Dr. Denoya for your hospitality. Thank you to the pre-health department for allowing me to have this opportunity. This experience was truly eye-opening.

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Cameron – Final Thoughts

My summer has been filled with so many new experiences. I shadowed in the OR for the first time, sat in on resident meetings about patient rounds, learned how to design surveys in REDCap, and entered too many patient charts to remember.

Reflecting on my time at MGH, I tried to think of a central theme that sums up my experiences. While I could say “surgery”, “research”, or “working in a hospital”, I think my summer experiences are best unified by the phrase: “making connections”.

Asking a doctor why she decided to specialize in general surgery on the way back from the OR. Talking to a scrub nurse about why she loves her job. Hearing a resident explain why he switched his career trajectory from veterinary medicine to human medicine partway through undergrad, and telling him that I was considering the same. Listening to patients talk about their struggles and pain, and the long-awaited relief weeks after surgery.

Listening to patients and having discussions with healthcare providers — making connections —, was truly the highlight of my summer. Since MGH is such a large teaching hospital, I had the pleasure of working with nurses, nurse practitioners, medical students, residents, research residents, fellows, and surgeons. All of them were willing to explain their journey to patient care, and happy to offer advice about my own.

At the beginning of the summer I gave a quote: “When the fireflies are gone, the ponds have dried up and the plants are wilted, weary from being so green. It’s no longer really summer but the air is still too warm and heavy to be fall. It’s the season between the seasons” (Dry by Augusten Burroughs, 74).

Perhaps June was too early, but now the timing seems just right — it is the season between seasons. Summer’s coming to an end, and with the earlier sunsets comes the familiarity of another academic semester. I’m lucky enough to be continuing research at MGH over the school year, so while this is technically my final thoughts post, in a way it’s another midway point post. Again, I’m being thrust into a new season, and again I’m excited to see what this new season of fall has in store for me.

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Tracy – Final Thoughts

I have finished my internship last week! (Now school’s started, yikes!) And this internship has been such a fulfilling experience, where I’ve learned so much – not just about obstetrics and gynecology, but about the prevalence of the intersection between mental health and physical health, what a day looks like for a doctor (or at least a gynecologist!), and what sort of sacrifices had to be made for the fellows and doctors to get that far.

Well, we finished the RedCap database! There are about 300-400 samples in that database, so hopefully we can find some interesting correlations between some factors and high degree of vaginal lacerations and/or breakdowns from childbirth. It was interesting to be a part of a retrospective study, going hunting for different details and becoming familiar with different medical terminologies and abbreviations – and with every patient note, it’s almost like I became a little bit invested in the patient’s journey. It’s unfortunate that with so many of these retrospective studies, there’s missing information from the past notes, or the notes just cut off at a certain time period because the patient either swapped health services or moved away to a different country, or didn’t come back for some reason. It was interesting, though!

In addition to shadowing in the clinic and operating room, Dr. Hudson also gave us the opportunity to observe a couple of interdisciplinary meetings. One of the meetings was between various specialties such as our department of OB / GYN, then radiology and GI (gastroenterology), where the physicians discussed patients with complicated cases and worked together to come up with course of actions. Another meeting was between our OB / GYN department with physical therapists and clinical psychologists. Since so many of our gynecology patients suffered from previous physical trauma, it was extremely difficult for them to undergo the gynecology examinations and obtain non-surgical treatments for conditions such as vaginal inserts to treat prolapses. I can’t imagine how difficult and distressing it must have been for those patients to bury away previous trauma in their minds, only to have it come up many years or even decades later when dealing with stressful and stigmatized conditions such as prolapses… So I’m happy that the OB / GYN department was seeking to establish an interdisciplinary collaboration with clinical psychologists, where they can help address PTSD and other trauma symptoms in those patients, and ensure that they can get the help they need – whether physical or emotional. It was so interesting to hear the different psychological treatments to help patients process and deal with trauma, such as CBT and CPT (since I’m also a psychology major). During the meeting, I also learned that there were collaborations between the psychiatry, clinical psychology and GI departments – since so many of their GI patients had previous problems with eating disorders. Your mental health truly does intersect so closely with your physical health…I am heavily interested in psychiatry, and participating in these meetings makes me feel so excited about the interdisciplinary possibilities in the psychiatric and neurological professions! The intersection between brain and body is something I feel should be emphasized more in our general health education and awareness.

Aside from those meetings, something that’s important to know is that being a doctor also requires a lot of time spent on paperwork – updating patient’s notes, summarizing their appointments, and figuring out insurance vs. medications. And even once you’re accepted to medical school, you have to worry about your STEP exams and oral exams to get into residencies, and then get board certified in your profession of choice. This profession is a constant journey that requires constant hard work, learning, literature reading, and maintaining your clinical skills – have you ever heard of that analogy where med school is a firehose of information? And in the end, even when you are earning a physician’s salary, you are still paying off a large amount of loans that the income isn’t as rewarding as it seems, and the loans are also an additional source of pressure on your back. So yeah – being a physician definitely isn’t for everyone, especially considering that there are other ways to work in the healthcare field while having direct patient contact (and avoiding them loans)! But if the learning, and keeping up with your field, leadership, diagnostic abilities, administering medication, cooperation with other physicians and experts who are so knowledgeable in their own fields, if those things excite you and if you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else – then it seems like such a valuable, rewarding, and academically stimulating path to pursue. At least, from what I’ve seen!! But…if you are considering whether medical school is worth it for you, I do think it’s important to shadow or seek advice from others who are further in their path than where you are right now. Truly consider whether you feel you’d be able to shoulder the financial burden, and if the end goal would be worth all the fighting – especially since it’s a constant stream of hard work. Because in the end, even though being a physician is an admirable profession, your health, well-being and happiness are the most important thing. Whether being a doctor is a part of that or not, is something that you should ask yourself before continuing down this path.

But, those things aside! Everyone at my internship has been so considerate and kind. Dr. Hudson has patiently taught us so many things, while also helping us set up for shadowing and offering advice on any questions we had. The attending doctors and fellows have all patiently allowed us to observe them while answering questions too, even though they were busy! And in the operating room, the nurses and technicians have been so considerate of us during surgeries, offering us places to sit and setting up monitors so we could observe procedures properly. I am so thankful that I got to be a part of this internship, and I definitely learned a lot along the way. I hope that reading this has helped you, too, and I wish you the best in whatever you’re working towards!

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Itay – Final Thoughts

Although I am continuing my position at MGH through the fall semester, it very much does feel like a large chapter has ended in my experience. While I will still be working towards my research project throughout the semester (as described in my midway point post), I think my experience there will now be a very different one than it had been.

Throughout the semester I will be working at MGH on Tuesday evenings for around 5-6 hours, which obviously is a big transition from having been there practically full time throughout the past 6 weeks or so. What I had really liked about being at MGH every day was that at least once a week my day was dedicated to shadowing surgeries, which was integral to my ability to later talk to patients and analyze these specific procedures. In some senses, I had been shadowing the patients instead of the doctors in that I had contact with patients both before and after surgery and often observed their surgeries too. On top of that, I also would look at past medical records for such patients as part of the research parameters, and for surgeries performed in the past at later follow-ups. This complete experience was very eye opening in understanding how medical care works all around, much beyond the role of the operating surgeon in the OR. This fall my time at MGH will likely be dedicated to research only, due to time constraints, which naturally will be a different experience in that it will be less exploratory and more goal oriented than the summer had been.

I think being serious about studying medicine requires one to have a strong base to their interest, created by self-reflection and self-questioning. Before this summer I had a lot of doubt about perusing medical school, and this had been one of the main reasons I had wanted to push myself to engage in direct contact and observation with the field through some form of summer internship. I have always known I am interested in the medical field for a career one day, but the reality is that there are many other doors that can lead toward a career in medicine besides an MD/DO degree. Having so much interaction with doctors this summer at MGH, specifically with residents I had been working with, had really inspired me and shined light on the fact that if there is a will there will definitely be a way for me to pursue a medical degree post-Brandeis. Of course, it will be a long and difficult road to achieve this goal but having personal and honest conversations about this with the amazing mentors I have had the chance to get to know this summer had really changed my view and motivated me. The love and passion that the staff at MGH’s colorectal surgery department had towards medicine and helping others had was contagious, and this made me so eager to keep learning and experiencing new things. I am excited for what is to come in the future in regards to my position held and relationships formed at MGH, and for whatever the future holds for me with my passion for healthcare.

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Jasmine – Final Thoughts

For the past 8 weeks, we have been working in the Urogynecology department at
Mass General Hospital. More specifically, we worked with urogynecologists who are part of the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Program. Shadowing in both the clinic and the operating room, I have learned that this department addresses urinary urgency and/or incontinence, prolapse, and any problems involving pelvic pain. The main method of treatment I found that the doctors use is pelvic floor physical therapy to build strength and support in the pelvic muscles around the organs in the pelvic area. The clinic actually keeps a record of all the pelvic floor therapists all over Massachusetts and even New Hampshire for the convenience of all their patients. The majority of patients are around 60 years old and post-menopausal. At this age, it is common for the muscles in the pelvic area to have weakened, often resulting in vaginal prolapse. Especially after vaginal childbirth, these symptoms are common in many women.

I was surprised to find that a lot of the women that came into the clinic had never known
that a specialty like Urogynecology had even existed. The fact that so many women were not aware of an entire specialty geared specifically towards their pelvic health reinforced the fact that society expects women to accept any problems in that area and deal with it themselves. However, for men it is widely known that should they encounter any medical problems in the same area, they should see a urologist. Furthermore, it made me wonder whether the widely known obstetrics/gynecology department is only widely known because gynecologists help women through the childbearing process. It seems that society has accepted the field that helps women bear children, a strong societal expectation of women, but neglects the field that caters to the medical needs of women due to childbirth. Many women live with symptoms of urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, vaginal prolapse, etc. because they are too embarrassed to seek help. It was heartbreaking to see that many patients that came into the clinic would lie on the table and continuously apologize to the doctors about the leaking during a routine exam even though these doctors had been trained to see and treat these symptoms.

During these past 8 weeks, we have completed the Perineal Database created by Dr.
Burkowitz and Dr. Hudson to find trends in the occurrences of third and fourth degree vaginal lacerations and breakdowns of those lacerations after vaginal deliveries. We have logged over 440 patients’ childbirth experiences by reading through their patient history into a database. The data will now be sent to a statistician at MassGeneral who will look for these trends and hopefully a paper will be able to be published about the findings. I am excited that I will be continuing to work in the FPMRS program and the Urogynecology department in future projects throughout this fall semester. Currently there are several projects that are under the IRB review process and once they are approved I can start helping with the project.

I was also very intrigued in a new project that is just being started. Recently, the Urogyencology department held a meeting with a group of cognitive behavior therapists to create a protocol that caters towards patients that have a history of trauma, whether that is verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. It has been found that having a history of trauma and chronic pelvic pain are connected. Therefore, FPMRS is trying to create a protocol starting from bringing up the conversation of trauma with the patient to making pelvic floor physical therapy a viable option without triggering the patient. I am excited to continue to work with this department and witness its growth.

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Monica – Final Thoughts

Sadly, my shadowing has come to an end. These past weeks have been amazing- I have gained tons of knowledge, experience, and insight into the medical field and made life-long memories along the way. Observing Dr. Isenberg and his colleagues was a dream and I’m very grateful I received the opportunity to do so.

I watched him interact with his patients in the clinical environment, right before surgery, and his follow-up consultation with the patient about a few days or a week later. I was able to learn, in this particular profession, how he builds the doctor-patient relationship in its entirety throughout the different stages from their initial visitation, to surgery, to their follow-up visits. It shows the continuity in his practice and how he can get to know his patients, not just their case.

During the second half of the shadowing program, I finally was able to mostly distinguish the different parts of the colon on the screen when watching a colonoscopy. I even had an opportunity to try doing one on my own! Through a simulation screen, of course. I was elated to give it a go after weeks of watching, and I managed to reach the cecum, but I found out that it’s not nearly as easy as Dr. Isenberg makes it to be.  It was shockingly intense and saddening to watch a surgery on some patients that were around my age. I couldn’t imagine being in their situation, especially when some were suffering from  excruciating pain. On the flip side I also observed him helping elderly patients who were suffering from multiple issues. It made me realize that anyone can be exposed to unwanted ailments no matter the age, gender, or race, so being able to help people in their time of need is very rewarding.

I very much enjoyed the environment at Thomas Jefferson. Due to it being a university hospital, I was able to spend a good amount of time with Dr. Isenberg’s team, which consisted of a fellow, residents, and medical students. Everyone there was really amicable and explained cases to me and answered my questions. One of the medical students taught me how to tie square knots, and I was able to practice suturing. The fellow doctors in Dr. Isenberg’s department were also very friendly and I shadowed them as well, in clinic and in the OR. Before any surgery, the doctors always say “safety is a team effort so speak up” or something similar, which is nice because everyone in the room plays a role and needs to be working together to produce the desired outcome. It was good to learn that teamwork is very valuable in this profession as well.

Some new types of cases I observed were creating an ileostomy, reversing a colostomy, removing multiple metastasized tumors, and a perianeal proctectomy. It was still surreal seeing organs outside of the body, especially if they were damaged. Some of the surgeries were performed laparoscopically, some open which was my favorite, and some robotically which was also very cool since I was able to sit on the robot and see the 3-dimensional view from the eyes of the robot. I was fortunate to witness a rare situation where they needed to brainstorm the diagnosis in the operating room for various reasons and make decisions on the spot. I also observed that they were stressed at times, which I actually appreciated because it showed how much they cared about their patients and wanted to give them the best possible treatment.

I couldn’t have asked for a better shadowing experience! I would like to thank the Brandeis pre-health department for matching me with this program, and my sincere thanks to the colorectal team at Thomas Jefferson, especially Dr. Isenberg, for allowing me to shadow him and providing such a valuable life experience. I could only hope that one day I can be as good of a surgeon as he is. I’m excited for what the future holds!

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Penh – Final Thoughts

This program has truly been a great experience and far exceeded my expectations. Going into the program, I was extremely nervous but Dr. Cataldo and his team immediately put me at ease on the very first day. My expectations for the experience consisted of simply observing the inner workings of the hospital, understanding the complexity of patient-provider interactions and applying some of my academic knowledge to my observations. While spending numerous hours in the clinic and OR, I feel like these goals have been achieved. I have witnessed the importance of teamwork whether it be in more dire situations like in the OR or in a friendly environment such as in the office. Everyone from the medical assistants to nurses, RNs and residents help the appointments go smoothly. 

This experience at Beth Israel has certainly clarified my career interest in becoming a doctor. Not only that but it has opened my eyes to the realm of surgeons which I have learned is extremely demanding. While I had the luxury of leaving the operation room at any time for bathroom breaks or a lunch, my colorectal surgeon pushed forward to finish his surgery at hand before considering any breaks. Although surgery is exciting, I am not sure whether I can handle the demanding schedule and pressure with becoming a surgeon. 

My advice to a student interested in shadowing is to not be afraid to speak out. Firstly, if you are trying to land a shadowing position, it would be beneficial to call the doctor’s office and/or email to ask. While shadowing, ask questions and be engaged. At Beth Israel, the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. I was actually encouraged to ask questions by them. For those who are interested in shadowing at other institutions, I am sure this advice would also apply. 

I am most proud of getting rid of my shyness and nervousness by the end of the experience. I felt intimidated by the staff at the beginning and was afraid of asking “stupid” questions. Of course, everyone was very welcoming and I eventually felt comfortable at the hospital.

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Tracy – Midway Point

It’s been about 3 weeks ever since my internship started, and to be honest, this has been a much more valuable experience than I ever thought it would!

My main task has been to populate a RedCap database with patient information concerning vaginal lacerations during childbirth. Ultimately, our goal is to find out what sort of factors correlate with severe lacerations, along with any “breakdowns” of the surgical laceration repairs – which means that somehow, the repair might break and the wound would rupture. In order to enter data, I’ve been reading previous notes on the patient’s condition concerning their pregnancy. Even though this is a retrospective study, reading those notes has actually been very interesting because it’s almost as if I’m reading along with the patient’s journey! I get to read how the patient has been doing health wise concerning their pregnancy, their pregnancy details, and how both they and the baby have been doing after the pregnancy. It’s a little silly to say, but it always makes me happy whenever the mother and the baby are doing well postpartum! I have also been learning so much about obstetrics – for example, different surgical procedures for laceration repairs, details about childbirth, potential factors that correlate with difficult pregnancies – and even though I’m not intending to go into this field, it’s been quite interesting nonetheless.

In addition to my database entry responsibilities, I am also shadowing OB / GYNs during their consultations and surgeries. Even though I didn’t think I would be that interested in obstetrics or gynecology, it’s been so wonderful and heartwarming to watch how doctors treat their patients – how kind and patient the doctors are, how they make the patients comfortable by talking about other things in life, and how talented the doctors are at teaching patients about their health conditions and treatment options, especially in such a field as this where patients may feel embarrassed or ashamed of themselves. It’s also been incredible watching surgeries – so far I’ve only seen surgeries related to prolapses and urinary incontinence – but they have been laparoscopic surgeries, which means the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen, inserts a camera, and does all their surgery work inside while looking at a monitor. It seems so difficult, making small stitches while only looking at a 2D monitor! But the attending doctors and fellows have all been so great at it! And during the surgeries, more experienced physicians will often be teaching residents and medical students as well. It’s a wonderful relationship to see, and it makes me a bit happy too because it feels more personable when you see interactions between people in all stages of their health careers.

Overall, even though it’s only been 3 weeks (and I pretty much only go 2 – 3 days a week), I’ve been learning and experiencing so much that I find meaningful to me, regardless of whatever profession I’m interested in! I think something especially wonderful that I’ve been able to see is the patient to doctor interaction; how in this clinical space where we’re talking about the patient’s health, there is no judgement or blame – it’s all about how we can help you do better and feel better, and how we can help you feel more comfortable. To me, that’s something so valuable and precious; the trust between a patient and a doctor – and I would love to become someone like that in the future! All in all, I am incredibly thankful to all the faculty at MGH and the prehealth department at Brandeis for being so considerate, and for helping me grow and learn!

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Jasmine – Midway Point

We having been working as research assistants for Female Pelvic Medicine and Reproductive Surgery for about a month now. The main goal of this program is to encourage women to build the courage and be comfortable with health problems that they may have been too embarrassed to seek help for due to social stigmas. I have been going into the hospital Monday through Friday to either work on the database or shadow or a combination of both. The majority of the week I spend working on the Perineal Database which creates a log of all women at Massachusetts General Hospital who have had a perineal laceration as a result of vaginal child birth. Using a compiled excel sheet of all the patients that have endured some kind of perineal laceration, we search them through EPIC, a program containing all patient history, and read through and upload the details asked for by the database.

Dr. Hudson has been amazing to work with and learn from. She has been very helpful in that every Tuesday morning; we meet to discuss any problems or questions that we may have come across when working on the database. In these meetings, Dr. Hudson has also been wonderful in teaching us about the different cases of perineal lacerations we may come across so that we do not feel lost in the information we are working with.

This being my first research experience, working on the Perineal Database has been a fast learning experience. As explained above, the Perineal Database is a retrospective clinical database. Therefore, all the information that is compiled is information that had been logged as long as 10 years ago. I have learned that one of the benefits of a retrospective clinical research is that the information that you need is already available for you in the patients’ history. However, a major downside to a retrospective clinical research is that you only have the information that is available to you. We found that while reading and searching through the patients’ history, there are many cases where there are missing details or even missing documents as a whole. In these cases, the only option we have is to left those fields in the database blank. Nonetheless, working as a research assistant for perineal lacerations has been an amazing experience so far.

Once a week, we are shadowing in the clinic with whomever the attending of the week happens to be. The clinic mostly consists of consults with mostly older women who have already experienced menopause or are experiencing menopause, that have concerns about prolapse. So far, I have gotten to shadow multiple routine examinations and the taking of vaginal measurements to diagnose a prolapse. Other appointments include pre-operation and postoperation consults. Lastly, I have noticed that there are a lot of patients that are referred pelvic floor physical therapy, a far less invasive form of treatment, that is close to the patients’ home.

Shadowing in the operating room has also been a new experience. The main procedures that I have been shadowing have been sacrocolpopexies. In a sacrocolpopexy, a mesh sling is places to fix a prolapse or treat urinary incontinence. Furthermore, it has been interesting to see that they minimize invasion by proceeding with a laparoscopic approach. Furthermore, earlier this summer, I shadowed in the operating rooms in a public care hospital in Budapest. One huge difference that I noticed is that prepping the patient for surgery in Budapest would take a minimum of thirty minutes, especially because doctors in the public system were very understaffed. However, at Massachusetts General, by the time the surgeon shows up to the operating room, everything is prepped and in place. The hardworking nurses and the system that is in place makes everything go smoother and faster. I look forward to continuing my learning experiences at MassGeneral with Dr. Hudson for the weeks to come.

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Monica – Midway Point

I can’t believe it’s already halfway through! I’ve seen so many incredible procedures and interactions, met and had conversations with various people, and have gained so much knowledge these past few weeks. The first day I began shadowing was probably the most nervous I’d ever felt entering a new environment, mainly due to the fact that there were so many thoughts running through my head. Immediately Dr. Isenberg got to work, and I had only just started to grasp how jam-packed his workdays are. He is very friendly and made me feel comfortable being there, especially since I initially felt like I was constantly in the way. Although seeing a colonoscopy has since become normal for me, the first time I saw him perform one I was awed at how easy he made it look, and was captured by seeing the inside of a colon through a camera. Though I have to admit it was weird to see it at first, weird was quickly replaced by fascinated. I’ve seen him remove polyps inside the colon to preemptively get rid of any causes for cancer, and I am constantly amazed at how he can distinguish the different parts of the colon on the screen, since they all look the same to me!

I also witnessed him interacting with lots of patients. I like how he is able to communicate effectively and succinctly while still maintaining an amiable and caring persona. He goes into each appointment with a game plan already in mind, and asks more questions from the patient to confirm his thinking. It’s interesting to me to see how quickly he is able to draw conclusions by hearing about a patient’s worries or by checking them, because it shows how knowledgeable he is in his field. Many of the patients he sees have similar cases, but some have had different issues and some more serious conditions, namely cancer. I was shocked the first time when I heard Dr. Isenberg talking to his patients about the threat of cancer and ways to immediately start fighting it, because cancer can completely change a person’s life. However, after observing such cases for some time, it is no longer shocking and now I understand the seriousness of the situation and how a cancer can be life threatening. It was also amazing to see how the doctors set their emotions apart while treating their patients, knowing fully well that at times the results may not be very favorable and in some cases even fatal.

Another situation I observed was when doctors did not have all the answers to help solve the patient’s issue. When patients complained about having certain ailments to Dr. Isenberg, all he could tell them was to wait since nothing else would fix their problem immediately. I could understand the frustration from the patient’s side, but it was also interesting to see if from the doctor’s perspective: waiting was the best option because giving medicine or immediately operating wouldn’t help at all. Though patients come to doctors expecting for a quick fix, I learned that sometimes it’s not the case, and I also witnessed how some took the news well, while others not so much.

The coolest part of these past few weeks was definitely surgery. I’ve been able to see different surgeries ranging from cases such as fistulotomy and hemorrhoidectomy to more invasive ones like a laparoscopic removal of the colon and perineal proctectomy. I get to stand in the ER and watch everything- the patient getting put under, sterilizing the patient with betadine, the incisions and the actual surgery, suturing the cuts, and dressing up. The environment is a bit more relaxed than I thought it would be since they play music in the background! The doctors are still completely focused, of course. When Dr. Isenberg removed the colon from one patient, I couldn’t believe how big it was when he kept pulling and pulling it out from the incision he made! Then, the colon was just put in a pile on the table for a few minutes, and I was just staring at that patient’s colon. It was surreal, seeing a major organ outside of the body just lying there. Seeing surgeries and the work/effort that goes into it is giving me a new appreciation and perspective for the development of the medical world and the amount of procedures surgeons are able to accomplish.

Finally, being in the heart of Philadelphia where the all the actions are has been such a blast. It’s the perfect location for me to be in the hospital all day, and then walk around the city in the evening and explore everything that it offered, such as museums, restaurants, and outdoor activities. The hospital is located in the heart of the city, so there are a lot of patients that check-in with a wide variety of ailments so I get to see a varied types of cases. I’m very much looking forward to the next few weeks to see what else is in store!

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