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Dr.J's HouseCalls

This blog began in 2005 - as the ONLY mechanism I had left to FIGHT what was done to me in government service (Hillary's village - a prelude to Obamacare) by my hometown hospital in Asheboro/Randolph County, N.C. Over 2300 posts later, all of the blog is

Updated: 2018-02-14T06:32:43.773-05:00


Why Pediatrics


About a month ago, a cousin's son, now in college, called me. He wants to go to medical school. The family, like mine years ago, is middle class . . . certainly not wealthy . . . and he is worried about how to pay for it. My long-retired debt is nothing compared to what he will likely face. He does not in any way want to burden his family. He wanted to know about "loan-repayment" for public service arrangements, and my cousin said, "Call Mary".He's an incredibly bright kid . . . and he asked questions I did not even dream of asking when I was his age. I was brutally honest, telling him that I would not encourage anyone who was not absolutely certain about his/her calling to go into medicine right now. But if it was what he really wanted to do he should go for it. I also offered the following advice: You must remember that medicine eats its young - and the only one who is going to look out for you is you. Keep your eyes wide open. Get a lawyer to review any employment or partnership contract you sign out of residency. If a hospital administrator's lips are moving, he is lying. Anything that sounds too good to be true, is. He is in the process of applying right now, and we talked about the strategy of all that. It's a game . . . and it's played very much like Survivor. He told me he was struggling with his personal statement (something that all of the schools request with an application). He wanted to stand out . . . to not appear like just another idealistic, "I wanna save the world" sap. He wondered what I wrote. I told him that two rounds of medical school applications were a lifetime ago, and I had no idea what I had written. But he was in luck because I had saved the personal statement I had penned for my Pediatric residency application. I saved it because I'm proud of it . . . in fact, I was told it was passed out for a number of years to seniors at Bowman Gray as an example of fine writing . . . and a great statement of purpose. The statement was posted, for a while, on the original Asheboro Pediatrics website*. Of course, it came down when the website was overhauled and greatly simplified for those with short attention spans . . . not to mention little or no interest in how a good doctor's life can be derailed. (*Addendum:  That website is no more.)Sometimes when I read the statement I want to weep.I e-mailed my cousin's son the statement and (against my better judgment) some information links on federal loan-repayment programs (even though I'm suffering under no illusions that they've cleaned up their act). The following is the text from the web page. Dr. Johnson authored the following “personal statement” in 1991, before she applied for her Pediatric Residency Program (at Brenner’s). While her experience in Asheboro has left her considerably more world-weary than she ever dreamed possible when she wrote this, the sentiment and hope still stand:Three and one-half years ago, when I began medical school, the last medical specialty on my list of possibilities to consider was Pediatrics. As the daughter of a first grade teacher, catching brief, mostly after-hours glimpses of her life in the classroom, I had been witness to many of the pitfalls of that profession without experiencing any of its joys. I marveled at my mother’s tolerance and dedication, yet at the same time, it was crystal clear to me that dealing with children on a daily basis did not pay.As I have a soft spot in my heart for the underdogs of this world, from mistreated animals to North Carolina State University basketball players, I focused my attention on Obstetrics. It was the fourth specialty on my list of fields catering to the “medically disadvantaged” - namely the mentally ill, children, the aged, and women. However, in the delivery room, the “miracle of birth” (the “procedure” for which I was so psyched-up) paled in comparison to its end result - the child - the reason for all the commotion in the first place.Now while I am an idealist, I cannot sign on the humanist’s dotted line. The reason this world can be[...]