Getting into Medical School, aka Holy of Holies (the F-1 version)

My adventures as an international student trying to get into a US medical school as a prestigious MSI student!

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Location: East Coast, United States

I am a 22 yr old Foreign lady trying to get into an American med school. The journey has been "rough" to say the least. So join the band wagon and let's see if they think I'm good enough to become a doctor. I hope my story encourages someone, maybe you. Not necessarily to become a doctor, but just to follow your dream. Leave your comments as you read...I thrive on feedback. And if this is your first time here, catch up on what you missed, cus every post IS important...well almost all. So forget that board meeting(at your own risk) or skip that class (again at your own risk) and lose yourself in my archives. REMEMBER: "If it aint ROUGH, it aint RIGHT" - Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons Guard

Monday, January 08, 2007

Giving of Another Sort (II)

What it do?

So my friday interview was different in more ways than one. Apart from the unusual format of the interviews, for the first time, we were actually shown a live cadaver. Ok...a little oxymoronic(is that even a word?). All other interviews I'd been at involved our tour guides showing us the ominously shut doors to the anatomy lab, or taking us into the formaldehyde clad room and waving the sealed cadaver tanks in our faces closely followed by a short lecture about how for privacy reasons, the actual bodies couldn't be viewed by the public. You can imagine me and the other premeds elations when the med students/tour guides asked if we wanted to actually see the cadavers. Of course we said yes but as they unlocked the tanks, the looks on our faces gradually metamorphosized into one of confusion. I even began to ask myself if I was actually emotionally ready for it. On a few occasions, I've been known to think of myself braver than I actually am (Case in question: Watching certain movies and believing I was too "grown" to have nightmares). Hopefully this wasn't one of them.

Eventually they revealed the body to us. With all due respect, it reminded me of the cat I dissected in Undergrad Anatomy...just bigger. I was expecting well defined organs and stuff but everything was just brown and indistinguishable. No one passed out or felt woozy(at least they didn't show it). But that might also have been because the cadaver's face and hands were covered up so for a minute you might even forget it was once a living human being. I don't know what I'd have done if I saw the face of what used to be a 79 year old man staring back at me.

Anyways while in the room as I read the info sheets on the other tanks, I noticed a few things. For one thing none of the cadavers had died of natural causes and also, all of them were way over 70. I vaguely recalled Naijabloke's "lamentation" about how most people that even think about donating organs, and in this case bodies are usually older or terminally ill. From this little evidence, that idea seems accurate.

I also have to agree with Oge.E et al that said it wasn't something they were ready to deal with. I think about it once in a while too but never enough to do anything about it. I guess when you are of age and the next step in life for you is neither med school nor how to survive it but making a safe painless transition to the other side, it might be easier to voluntarily think of organ legacies.

More than ever even if I ever make the decision to donate my body parts, like Anonymous said, I am too scared that overzealous doctors waiting for organs for their patients might not do enough to save me before hauling in the commercial harvester and stripping me of my used to be life-maintainers. (PS: Anonymous, sorry to hear about your best friends mom, like the other commenters said, I what she did is the noblest form of love one can express. She would probably feel worse if she hadn't tried at all.) And yes, it is easier(emotionally and scientifically) to donate to a family member, I hear about those kind of donors more often, maybe because the media sensationalizes it and for once, with good reason.

I'll leave you with an interesting irony. Most of the med students I've talked to say that after seeing what a cadaver goes through during anatomy, even if they were planning to donate their bodies to science...they have hurriedly changed their minds!

Most schools have funeral services for their cadaver after the anatomy class, they meet with the family and thank them for the donation. That brings to mind an interesting thought...I wonder where Nigerian Med Schools get their cadavers from cus I know aint no one donating even a broken fingernail to science on that part of the globe!!

See Part I

See Comments from part I

Sorry I know this isn't exactly ideal monday morning reading...

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Blogger Biodun said...

Ha, ha, I think Naija med skools, het them off the streets or something, lol ok seriously they probably use unclaimed bodies or something, that would so be common in naija, really I dont knwo, but that is wot I think though!
So med students dont wanna b donors ehn!

January 08, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Gramps said...

A med student in Naija told me they get "unclaimed bodies" and bodies of armed robbers who were killed in "shoot-outs" with the police.

WRT not donating organs after seeing what a cadaver goes through, - don't know if this happens in America but Surgical teams (especially in teaching hospitals) handle their patients in undignified manners during a surgical procedure. They also crack crude jokes and make gross comments about the patient's anatomy. Maybe this will teach your friends (who plan to be doctors) not to do the same.

January 08, 2007 9:29 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

@ Biodun and Gramps: I had heard of the unclaimed bodies story but never really confirmed it. I'm guessing its probably true.

And gramps, I haven't heard many docs making fun of patients but I haven't exactly been a an Operating Room before...(ahhhh that will be the day!! ). But I've seen eye rolls and such so I won't be surprised if they took it further.

Thanks for the comments

January 09, 2007 9:22 PM  
Blogger Gramps said...

The comments I mentioned are in Naija. Several friends of mine in the medical profession have told me about it. I've also overhead some of those comments.

January 10, 2007 5:00 PM  

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