Page 12 - Regions Annual Report 2022
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12 | Emergency Medicine Residency 2022 Annual Report
    Your path to residency at Regions is a unique one. How did you end up here for EM residency?
I rotated at Regions as a fourth-year medical student a month before getting my first liver transplant. I know that sounds crazy, but I’d gone through most of my medical school training sick. I was worried that
if I slowed down, it’d be too hard for me to get going again and it was important to me to finish my medical degree before my transplant, so I just kept pushing. My medical school clerkship coordinator recommended Regions and had said previous students had great experiences here. I could see why immediately. I was struck by how the staff here supported and cared for the residents, and I was impressed by how competent and well-trained the residents were.
Wait – Did you say before getting your *first* liver transplant?
I did! I was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis while in college, and ultimately that resulted in being listed for transplant. My first one was in March 2017 a couple months before graduating from medical school. Unfortunately, that transplant was complicated by a blood clot and infections. I ended up back on the transplant list a couple months later and received my second liver transplant in July 2017. That transplant initially went more smoothly, but less than a year later I started having issues with rejection that caused that liver to fail as well. I received my third liver transplant in September 2018.
 Going into that, I thought I understood the complications that could come with the surgery, but it got so much worse. I had a pancreatic leak that caused damage to my bowels, multiple infections requiring six, maybe seven concurrent drains, intrabdominal bleeding, and repeated episodes of clotting. My surgeon liked to say, “life is
a delicate balance between bleeding and clotting” and we lived that day in and day out. I was in the hospital for more than 100 days, including months in the surgical ICU. These struggles culminated in an episode of massive arterial intrabdominal bleeding that nearly cost me my life and severely compromised the blood supply to my liver.
I really thought I was going to die, and so did most of my doctors. At that point, we’d exhausted every manner of salvaging the liver and I wasn’t eligible for another transplant because of how sick I was.
How does someone go from that to applying to emergency medicine residency?
I truly never thought I’d get better. But throughout the fall of 2019, the drains in my abdomen began coming out despite the blood supply to my liver being compromised. As COVID arose and the world got sick, I actually started getting healthier and healthier. I set my record for “consecutive days outside of the hospital in three years” and never looked back. Over several months, it dawned on me that I was getting stronger and stronger. It opened the door to thinking about what residency could look like. I had my medical degree and had spent all that time training, if I was going to be around, I wanted to use it.
When I read about medical stuff online, it was always EM focused. The light bulb went on that the right thing would be to do EM and, after I realized that, I realized the only logical place for me to come back to would be Regions.
How have your experiences as a patient impacted your approach to being a doctor?
As a patient, I made many visits to the ED for fevers, bleeding, and pain. I can really relate to patients with chronic disease and the despair that can come with their treatment. Unfortunately for most people, illness and recovery isn’t a linear trajectory, and it’s so difficult to keep going when you’ve experienced setback after setback. When I see patients who are frustrated or upset or angry with how their illness has progressed, I relate to the helplessness that comes with being critically ill.
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