Commonest Erythematous Palpation, Status Post

When I was a postbac student shadowing doctors in the hospital, I learned that medical centers have a status hierarchy all their own. It resembles a cult, actually. I wrote about this in “Medicine Dress Code:” medical students wear short white coats, residents have slightly longer coats, and attendings – highest on the seniority ladder – have near-wizard length, Merlin-style white robes. I have no idea where this custom originated or why it persists, but it is helpful in quickly indicating who you don’t want to irritate.

What I didn’t realize is that the medical world goes further into cult-dom than I originally thought. In fact, medicine has its own language entirely. Continue reading

Tearin’ Up (Someone Else’s) Heart

(Did you catch the 90’s song reference?)

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re currently in the middle of the “Homeostasis” block, where we cycle through systems of the body – the heart, the kidneys, and the lungs. An integral part of most medical educations involves something called “organ recitals.”

An organ recital is a session where small groups of med students cluster around a pathologist and a cart. The cart is filled with organs, all covered by smelly, formalin-soaked rags. The expectation with organ recitals is that you come prepared to apply your Powerpoint knowledge of anatomy to real, excised organs. Continue reading

My Heart Will Go On… Maybe

The past two weeks have been hard, hence the absence. We’ve been chest-deep in cardiology – everything from normal functioning of the heart to congenital defects to arrhythmias to drug treatments. And we still have a week to go. One could say the amount of material is, uh, disheartening, but that would be a bad pun.

(No worse than the chest-deep one in the first sentence, but you didn’t catch that one, did you?) Continue reading