Open Forum: Medicine and Warfare

For doctors who are treating the injured in the forefront of war, the burden is immense, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. As casualties increase, resources become depleted, and doctors become overtaxed. A recent article from the NY Times describes what it’s like inside a Libyan hospital in the midst of revolt and rebellion, and the grueling conditions encountered by the doctors. Not only do they have to remain focused with carnage surrounding them but they also must keep their personal allegiances unmarred by the political and polemical strife. What do you guys think are some of the difficult challenges that doctors face in times of war and revolt?

The full article can be accessed here.

Chi Zhang ’12

Open Forum: Role Reversal

As we premeds are working on the path towards doctorhood, we begin seeing ourselves more as physicians and less as patients. We take on the responsibility of caring and curing rather than being the ones who are attended to. However, an entry by Dr. D, who runs a health blog with advice and tips for amateurs and professionals alike, reveals that being a patient may not necessarily be any easier than being a doctor. The patients are oftentimes left to deal with the pain and emotional burdens of their accidents or illnesses alone. So, now the floor is open to you readers. Have you ever had a medical experience that was particularly grueling, scary, or notable? What were your feelings? How did you cope with the situation? Post your replies in the comments section!

The full article can be found here.

Chi Zhang ’12

Open Forum: Balancing Act II

Ever feel overwhelmed with ideas, tasks, and thoughts that everything becomes a blur and nothing seems to come out okay? In a recent article by Danielle Ofri published in “The Lancet,” she talks about all the nuances and thoughts that infringe upon a doctor’s mind during a routine day. Indeed, being overburdened with thoughts and issues is normal for a doctor, and many successful doctors are able to balance and juggle between thoughts seamlessly.  But the difficulty lies in being able to do so consistently without going hysterical or breaking down. The life of a doctor is rewarding as it is demanding, so what have you fellow readers been doing to prepare for the road ahead? How have you been getting ready to handle the long hours and adapting quickly to novel scenarios and situations? Let us know in the comments below!

The full article can be found here.

Chi Zhang ’12

Open Forum: MCAT Madness

Ahh MCATs, the SATs of medical school entrance exams. Except much more difficult.  And with more content. Many dread taking it, but it’s something almost all premeds must confront head-on in the challenging pursuit of glory, knowledge, and acceptance into med school. In this installment of Open Forum, I would like to discuss which study methods were best for you and which study prep materials you found most helpful!

For me, I took the online Kaplan course for convenience and supplemented it with individual Kaplan subject books. They cover the material you need to know extensively; however, I felt some areas that were more difficult conceptually were not presented in the best fashion and may require additional research. I also utilized the ExamKrackers practice problem subject books, but never completed them as the questions were either too easy or too difficult and did not mimic the actual MCAT question format.

For prep, I studied 3-4 months before my exam in January in short bursts to finish all the material review. The month before the exam was dedicated solely to reviewing isolated concepts I had missed and powering through practice exams.

So how did you readers prepare for this big test? Let us know in the comments!

Chi Zhang ’12

Open Forum: The Doctor Dilemma

An article I recently stumbled upon on Medscape discussed the effects of increasing commercialism in medicine, which inevitably leads to doctors practicing to increase profits rather than to exercise their skill and talents. With increasing commercialization, society’s views of medicine changes from that of doctor and patient to provider and consumer, which ushers doctors to increase the number of patients they see and treat while decreasing the quality and quantity of the interactions. When doctors work to meet a quota rather than to better themselves, the values and ethics of medicine become eroded. In that case, wouldn’t universal healthcare be the savior of medicine? If profit as a factor is minimized, wouldn’t doctors be more willing to work for their own personal fulfillment? Or would it merely engender a collapse in motivation?

The full article can be accessed here.

Chi Zhang ’12

Open Forum: Daily Double

A recent article published in the NY Times reveals an overuse of CT scans in several hospitals. The statistics are stark, with some hospitals performing double scans (one with iodine contrast, one without) 80% of the time while others, particularly major university teaching hospitals, perform double scans less than 1% of the time. Scans are not only expensive (about 350 times the cost of an x-ray) but also pose radiation hazards to patients. So what do you readers think? Are double scans reflective of precautionary measures or are they merely an inefficient means of diagnosis?

The full story can be found here.

Chi Zhang ’12

Open Forum: Balancing Act

We at the HPS Guide hope that all you fellow premeds are enjoying the summertime and being productive, whether you are conducting research or working on your medical school applications! This summer, we’ll be starting up the “Open Forum,” where interesting or hot topics in the areas of science and medicine will be posted here and you, the reader, can post your comments to the article. Do you agree? Disagree? Have suggestions? Critiques? Feel free to speak your mind and post below! The Open Forum will be a means of garnering the opinions of our premed readers and also gauging the diversity of opinions that exist on vital subjects that are likely to affect our futures. Read on and have fun!

For the first installment of our Open Forum, we’ll be focusing on an opinion article that recently appeared on the NY Times. The contributer gives her opinion of the dilemma encountered not just by the female doctors who are more likely to work part-time but also how recent changes to healthcare policies, especially Medicare, enforces and aggravates a preexisting bottleneck for training residents. What do you readers think? If you intend to go into medicine, do you see yourself as going all in and full-time? How do you think new changes to healthcare will affect the specific path you choose in the future?

Post your thoughts below, and if you want to check out the article, the link is here.

Chi Zhang ’12