Barbara Atkinson, founding dean of the UNLV School of Medicine:
Our second-year medical students have reached a big milestone, moving out of the classroom and into the hospitals and clinics for 15 weeks of longitudinal integrated clerkships (LIC). By shadowing physicians, they’re learning firsthand about the daily challenges, as well as the rewards, of treating patients and helping them heal. Ask any physician, and they will tell you about the first time they felt the true satisfaction of putting academic knowledge to use in a clinical setting — or the profound sadness you feel when you lose a patient that you’ve become close to. We asked students and faculty to tell us about their most memorable experiences. Some of the stories are humorous, others are quite serious, but together, they form a good representation of the extraordinary profession we have chosen to passionately perform.
Lauren Hollifield: I had the opportunity to assist in an amputation on my third day of rotations and also delivered a baby yesterday! It’s been an interesting, engaging, and rewarding experience!
Sierra Kreamer-Hope: One of the anesthesiologists let me intubate a patient! I got to first assist in a cesarean section delivery, and also assisted in a vaginal delivery. I assisted with a bilateral mastectomy — seven-hour surgery! I also helped with dressing changes of full body toxic epidermal necrolysis (basically a full body "burn" with skin peeling off due to a medication reaction).
Damien Medrano: During LIC, the best moments have been in the operating room. It is such an incredible experience to speak with a patient about a disease that has greatly impacted their life, and then see a surgical team work together to improve the patient's quality of life.
Toyokazu “Chris” Endo: Last week I had to opportunity to scrub in on a craniotomy for craniosynostosis. My residents and attendings took the extra time to explain each step and help orient us to the complex structures within the human skull.
Ashley Newell Prandecki: On top of so much clinical knowledge, the LIC has given me insight into things the books don’t teach you. I’ve been able to see a chief resident fight for a patient who couldn’t speak for herself, witnessed a passionate intern when she taught us about fetal heart tracings after an exhausting overnight shift, and saw attending physicians sacrifice their time to train and educate residents and students.
William Fang: Actually, participating as part of the medical team is exciting. Don't get me wrong, it's challenging work. However, being in the room with a patient and actually seeing your actions change a life; now that is something to be grateful for.
Neil Haycocks, assistant dean of biomedical science integration: I remember several. I helped deliver a baby for a patient who did not know that she was pregnant. I observed the use of electro convulsive therapy on a deeply psychotic patient. As I recall, the very next day, the patient was sitting up in bed conversing normally. I also interacted with a patient who had Capgras Syndrome. Those who experience Capgras have an irrational belief that people they know have been replaced by imposters. This woman believed her family members and neighbors had been kidnaped and replaced with actors attempting to deceive her. Fascinating and unforgettable.
Johan Bester, director of bioethics: On my first day as an intern, I was walking the hallway of the hospital and noticed a patient in one of the rooms that appeared to be in distress. It was the first time I had ever seen the patient and had no background on her whatsoever. It turned out she was coding. The hospital was virtually empty as most of the physicians were away for the holidays, so I immediately attempted to resuscitate, but was unable to save her. Since it was my first day, I did not anticipate having to inform (the family). Later, as I carefully informed the family, they were very upset and began wailing, falling on the ground and so forth. Just when they had calmed down, there was a knock on the door. The orderly explained that the rest of the family had arrived, so I would have to repeat the process all over again.