The Doctor is in–with answers to your questions!

Awhile ago we took questions for Doctor Mike of Pittsburgh…several weeks, surgeries, and Primanti Brother’s sandwiches later he has answers for us.  The questions in plain text are followed by Dr. Mike’s answers in bold.

  1. What is one thing you are constantly dealing with that you had no idea you would be seeing when you first got into medicine? People consistently not taking care of themselves despite being diagnosed with preventable disease. Example: 52 year old lady who refuses to check her blood sugar, continues to smoke even after we have amputated her lower leg for ischemia from the aforementioned.  I swear there a thousands of stories just like this in our hospital during a given month, it’s kind of discouraging but I guess it keeps us in business.
  2. Why are you in pittsburgh when I need you here to give my a back adjustment? Because Pittsburgh is awesome. If you don’t believe me, come here and I’ll prove it.
  3. What was your best moment as a doctor? Describe it in detail using no less than 5 adjectives.There has been a couple. From a surgical standpoint it would be doing my first vascular anastomosis. Prior to starting residency the one thing I feared the most was sewing two blood vessels together. About three months ago I got the opportunity to do it. Technically it was much less difficult than I thought it would be but the anxious feeling that built up inside me just before releasing the clamps and allowing blood to flow through the lines was crippling. The feeling of relief and accomplishment when the blood flowed through restoring blood flow to the patient’s arm has been unmatched at this point. It was definitely a day when I went home with a huge smile on my face.
  4. What is your specialty and why? I am currently a General Surgery resident. I chose surgery because I could not see myself doing anything else. My ultimate goal is to become a thoracic surgeon and treat people with lung and esophageal cancers. There is nothing more fulfilling than removing a tumor and potentially curing patient of cancer.  And at the opposite end of the spectrum I feel I have a demeanor and personality that will allow me to help patients cope with diagnoses that don’t have a potential cure.
  5. What is you life plan after Pittsburgh? After residency, I will most likely pursue a fellowship in Thoracic Surgery. Preferably, I’ll move back east to one of the major metropolitan areas. After fellowship, I plan on practicing in New Jersey and in close enough proximity to Christian Brothers Academy that my child (children) could attend the Academy.
  6. What is your least healthy habit? Primanti Brother’s. Otherwise, I don’t really have any habits.
  7. One of my closest friends is a lawyer, and she has expressed a complete distaste for most lawyer movies and shows because they are nothing like her life. Likewise, my Navy boyfriend scoffs at most military movies because, he says, so many things are portrayed wrong or inconsistent. So that’s my question to you: when you watch movies or shows about doctors, do you think, “This is a load of horseshit. This is NOTHING like what it’s like to be a doctor!” What show/movie is the least consistent with a real doctor’s job/lifestyle? What show/movie is the most consistent?  It clearly depends on the show. I’m a surgery resident so the question I hear most often is “Is it really like Grey’s Anatomy?” That show has been the single worst thing to happen to television and surgery, ever. Grey’s is inaccurate in respect to medical knowledge/fact, hospital relationships and surgical hierarchy. House is actually incredibly accurate in terms of medical knowledge. Scrubs is the best of them all. For day to day hospital life, Scrubs does a great job as far as depicting how residents really feel about certain situations, how we interact with nurses and staff, and how much fun we really do have despite the hospital’s sometimes gloomy outlook.
  8. I don’t know how old you are but I was curious if there is an age (or any other description) break down in doctors who are for and against the current reform. Are you all up on it, or are you so busy (in a good way) being doctors, you don’t have time to follow it? Aside from tort reform, what is one basic improvement to the medical school or medical industry that could be improved (in or out of the bill) in your opinion? I wish I had the time to stay up on it. Honestly, I know very very little regarding the new reform. I will however comment on how I feel about the current situation. I believe everyone should have access to healthcare. Physician’s who don’t believe this are probably practicing for the wrong reasons. That being said, socialized healthcare will clearly mean decreased reimbursement for physicians. My stance is that as long as my medical school loans are dealt with, I would be perfectly content working for a salary that may be markedly lower than what I had planned on.
  9. Has a patient ever hit on you or visa versa? Yes. As a medical student I had a girl leave her name and number with my attending. I actually had not seen the patient but she apparently saw me as she came into the office, questioned my attending about me and my attending insisted she leave her number. I get hit on all the time by older women and people who think that I would be perfect for their daughter/granddaughter, niece. I always politely decline nowadays since I am in a serious relationship.
  10. Is it bad to pop a pimple if you disinfect it? I’m not sure and technically shouldn’t answer medically related questions, sorry! I If you’re really concerned, I suggest speaking with your primary care physician.
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5 Responses

  1. Kind of a moral hazard huh…

    “What is one thing you are constantly dealing with that you had no idea you would be seeing when you first got into medicine? People consistently not taking care of themselves despite being diagnosed with preventable disease. Example: 52 year old lady who refuses to check her blood sugar, continues to smoke even after we have amputated her lower leg for ischemia from the aforementioned. I swear there a thousands of stories just like this in our hospital during a given month, it’s kind of discouraging but I guess it keeps us in business.”

  2. I agree with you on healthcare reform. I am a nurse and know a lot of docs opposed to it because of the cut in reimbursement. This is a doctor who went into medicine for the right reasons. All the best to you in your fellowship, Mike!

  3. I wish I saw when you asked this…

    Not to be a buzz kill, but what was the worst moment? It seems that could be pretty tough and discourage a good deal of folks, particularly those motivate by the monetary rewards who don’t factor in the abstract benefits.

  4. […] the positive feedback from Ask a Doctor, we thought it would be a nice way to pay tribute to the nurse’s of the world during […]

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