Friday, December 25, 2009


Hopefully the yule-log keeps burning, the sugar plums form a proper soul-train line in your head, and you don't have to call a chimney-sweep to get Uncle Charley out of the chimney after he had too much egg nog Santa Claus out of the chimney this morning.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, X-mas, EXTREME-mas, and, um... Winter Solstice.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Courtroom Drama

Well, finally I have something to write about...

As part of my "forensic education", I attended a murder trial yesterday, where my preceptor was testifying as an expert witness. Having never been in a murder trial before (unless, of course, you count the additive year of time I've probably spent watching Law and Order), it was all a little new to me.

The other student and I sat in the gallery, while the pathologist took the stand, and we watched and listened as he took the oath, was introduced to the jury, as began to be questioned by the prosecutor. They began to go through the grisly details of what had happened to the victim, i.e., what was found during the autopsy. As they did so, it became apparent that I was sitting next to the brother of the victim (it was a pretty small gallery). He was (quite understandably), visibly struggling with this information. In fact, families from both the victim and the accused were there, and as you would expect, no one was enjoying what they were hearing.

When it was time to begin viewing the evidence photos that were taken at the autopsy, the judge gave everyone the opportunity to leave if they did not think they could handle seeing them, and actually even had the defendant go look at them in another room before they were presented as evidence. To my surprise, no one from the gallery left. Apparently everyone wanted to, or felt like they had to, see these photographs.

When the defendant returned to the room (escorted by his lawyers and the bailiff, of course), he was obviously shaken, and it looked to me like he was crying. Well, the testimony resumed, and everyone looked through the autopsy photographs on a large projector screen, while my preceptor pointed out his various findings. Again, these photos had no small effect on the people in the gallery.

After that, there was some very perfunctory cross-examination by the defense, and then the judge read some questions from the jury, and just like that, our part of the trial was over. We promptly left the courthouse, and I immediately began wishing I had gone to law school instead returned to the medical foundation.

To sum up, it was a strange experience, and not like anything else I've done in medical school so far.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A day late, and a dollar short

As you may be aware, in addition to lawyer jokes, there are also doctor jokes. There's jokes for pretty much every specialty. Some are funny, and some are not, and others are more like proverbs than jokes. For example...

How do you hide a dollar from a general surgeon? Put it in a journal.
How do you hide a dollar from an orthopedist? Put it in a textbook.
How do you hide a dollar from a heart surgeon? Tape it to their kid's forehead.
How do you hide a dollar from a plastic surgeon? Trick question. You can't!

And some more...

Internists know everything and do nothing.
Surgeons know nothing and do everything.
Pathologists know everything, and do everything, but its always a day too late to help.

I would say that the last one may be right on target. Not that pathologists actually know everything, but when you're going through and doing an autopsy, you pretty much have to go through and look at everything, all the organs and such, to figure out what went wrong. And usually, you figure it out, because everything is opened up right there in front of you. But alas, in the real world (contrary to what happens on House), at that point, it's definitely too late to apologize help.

I apologize for being a bit morbid... To help cheer you up, I'll leave you with my all-time favorite doctor joke...
 What do you call two orthopedists looking at an EKG? A double-blind study!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Au jus...

Been back in South Bend for a few days, getting settled in, trying to get into the pathology swing of things for my Forensic Pathology rotation, and definitely liking the hours so far... went in at 9 am today, and not 'til noon tomorrow! (What is this, some kind of vacation or something?!)

So, most of what I'm doing for the month will be attending autopsies (only one so far), and learning all about how to do them, and also attempting to get a research paper published... ouch... oh, and did I mention studying?

At any rate, in addition to all the studying, I've decided that since I'm studying forensics, I should go ahead and read Crime and Punishment, while listening to this song, err... I mean this one on repeat.

I've also decided that while I'm in town I may as well stop in and give the higher-ups my two cents about who should replace Charlie Weiss... since I've got so much clout around here...