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Medical Life: Doctors

A family doctor I didn't ask for, doctor war stories, UCSD med school admissions, ER doc see abused baby, San Diego cardiologist up close, hard economies

Man vs MD

Every patient, as well as every dog, has his day, and mine came. It occurred in the local hospital ward during my recovery from a rather serious illness. In this environment our practitioner was even more formidable. No one ever seemed to see him enter or leave the ward. At a predetermined time he would materialize like a true warlock, make his radiant rounds, and dematerialize.

By Mark Ingersoll, Nov. 6, 1975 | Read full article

San Diego’s University Hospital cafeteria is in many ways similar to an army mess hall. Costumes point up rank.

Up Stethoscope

Young doctors enjoy exchanging stories about the bigwigs in their field. They nod knowingly and cynically when told of a prominent San Diego surgeon who has “mitten hands” and often makes serious mistakes during routine operations. This surgeon wields enough power to prevent any underling from confronting him with his errors. The assisting surgeons just quietly rectify the errors and store the tale away for upcoming social gatherings.

By Seth Tulsi, April 8, 1976 | Read full article

"Sometimes people will have information that could be helpful to others - like last year's lab reports.

So You Want to Be a Doctor

One pre-med heard through a friend that a certain upper division biochemistry course was "easy" and might be a cinch A. None of her fellow pre-meds had mentioned this course - which seemed strange, because word of such courses normally spreads fast. When this student showed up for the first day of class, she was surprised to see that the room was full of pre-meds. "All these people knew about it and no one had mentioned it!" she exclaims.

By Stephen Meyer, May 9, 1985 | Read full article

“These marks look like burns,” I say to Jessica’s mom, looking into her eyes.

The Marks on Jessica

As Jessica munches on the stethoscope and rolls around, I look again at the marks on her body. The bruise on the shoulder and the scratch on her abdomen are different from the other marks, because all the others have the precise bordered red color of partial-thickness burns about two days old. That means that whatever produced the burn was hot enough to kill the outer layer of skin cells, but not the inner layer.

By Alan Steinbach, Dec. 20, 1990 | Read full article

Dr. Michael Koumjian:"This morning I'll be doing a triple bypass on a 72-year-old male. Maybe a quadruple bypass, I don't know yet."

Heart Man

They were trying to distract me from the fact that Koumjian had now installed a rack of metal onto the patient's chest and was separating his rib cage with the thing by cranking a lever. The left side of the sternum was now elevated in a manner not unlike jacking up a car chassis. I was inches from the egg-like white tissue, the pericardium surrounding the heart that writhed and subsided rhythmically.

By John Brizzolara, Jan. 17, 1991 | Read full article

Fariba Ariz: “He refuses to eat. But there’s not much more we can do. He needs to go.”

Mrs. Teeter Has Coded

“We have to get loans — $80,000 to $100,000. And that’s without interest. You can imagine by the time you graduate how much interest has accumulated. I just think it’s not fair, realizing that all you do, 24 hours a day, almost, is care for patients, and the amount of money that you earn as a family physician is not enough to be able to pay these loans off right away.”

By Bill Manson, June 23, 1995 | Read full article

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Man vs MD

Every patient, as well as every dog, has his day, and mine came. It occurred in the local hospital ward during my recovery from a rather serious illness. In this environment our practitioner was even more formidable. No one ever seemed to see him enter or leave the ward. At a predetermined time he would materialize like a true warlock, make his radiant rounds, and dematerialize.

By Mark Ingersoll, Nov. 6, 1975 | Read full article

San Diego’s University Hospital cafeteria is in many ways similar to an army mess hall. Costumes point up rank.

Up Stethoscope

Young doctors enjoy exchanging stories about the bigwigs in their field. They nod knowingly and cynically when told of a prominent San Diego surgeon who has “mitten hands” and often makes serious mistakes during routine operations. This surgeon wields enough power to prevent any underling from confronting him with his errors. The assisting surgeons just quietly rectify the errors and store the tale away for upcoming social gatherings.

By Seth Tulsi, April 8, 1976 | Read full article

"Sometimes people will have information that could be helpful to others - like last year's lab reports.

So You Want to Be a Doctor

One pre-med heard through a friend that a certain upper division biochemistry course was "easy" and might be a cinch A. None of her fellow pre-meds had mentioned this course - which seemed strange, because word of such courses normally spreads fast. When this student showed up for the first day of class, she was surprised to see that the room was full of pre-meds. "All these people knew about it and no one had mentioned it!" she exclaims.

By Stephen Meyer, May 9, 1985 | Read full article

“These marks look like burns,” I say to Jessica’s mom, looking into her eyes.

The Marks on Jessica

As Jessica munches on the stethoscope and rolls around, I look again at the marks on her body. The bruise on the shoulder and the scratch on her abdomen are different from the other marks, because all the others have the precise bordered red color of partial-thickness burns about two days old. That means that whatever produced the burn was hot enough to kill the outer layer of skin cells, but not the inner layer.

By Alan Steinbach, Dec. 20, 1990 | Read full article

Dr. Michael Koumjian:"This morning I'll be doing a triple bypass on a 72-year-old male. Maybe a quadruple bypass, I don't know yet."

Heart Man

They were trying to distract me from the fact that Koumjian had now installed a rack of metal onto the patient's chest and was separating his rib cage with the thing by cranking a lever. The left side of the sternum was now elevated in a manner not unlike jacking up a car chassis. I was inches from the egg-like white tissue, the pericardium surrounding the heart that writhed and subsided rhythmically.

By John Brizzolara, Jan. 17, 1991 | Read full article

Fariba Ariz: “He refuses to eat. But there’s not much more we can do. He needs to go.”

Mrs. Teeter Has Coded

“We have to get loans — $80,000 to $100,000. And that’s without interest. You can imagine by the time you graduate how much interest has accumulated. I just think it’s not fair, realizing that all you do, 24 hours a day, almost, is care for patients, and the amount of money that you earn as a family physician is not enough to be able to pay these loans off right away.”

By Bill Manson, June 23, 1995 | Read full article

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