Interactive Case Studies Seminar

When I was a premed student, I had always pictured med school as an environment where students walk around in white coats, going to seminars and listening to guest speakers presenting their research and case studies. Ever since coming to AUC, although there hasn’t been many people walking around in white coats all the time, there has been many presentations, discussions, and seminars open to the public at school, and I see them announced on fliers around campus and sent to our school email inboxes but never have I been to one of them. I always gave myself the excuse that I was busy enough with school work and that I probably wouldn’t understand half the things that were said. Yesterday, however, I decided to give these “extracurricular lectures” a try. For the first time, I went to the first in a series of five talks titled:

14 Cases Illustrating Almost Every Cause of Chest Pain

Murmurs Made Easy

8 Cases of Hypertension

Let’s just say that I was amazed at how interesting, insightful, and entertaining the talk was. It was given by Dr. Model, a long-time retired physician who teaches ICM here at AUC. During this talk, Dr. Model presented 7 of the 14 cases. For each one, he described a true story that he encountered during his practice as a physician. He then asked the audience what we feel the diagnosis of the patient was and why. After a group discussion, he then gave the answer and explained why the diagnosis is what it is, and how he personally treated the patient.

The cases were all based on chest pains that patients felt, and the diagnoses ranged from aortic dissection to myocardial infarction to pericarditis, and we learned how to tell them all apart simply by interviewing patients for their history and descriptions of the symptoms they felt. I was quite surprised how much a doctor can actually determine the source of a problem without really needing a physical examination. Apparently 80% of all diagnoses can be solved simply by talking and listening to the patient alone.

The cases were not hard to understand, even for first and second semester students, and the cases present symptoms you may hear your friends, family, and strangers talk about every day. Dr. Model was quite entertaining as well, and with pizza served, and my friends around me trying to guess what the diagnoses were, I actually had a fun time. To me it was the same joy you get from reading mystery novels, solving puzzles, and playing thinking games. I hope I will get the same joy in my medical career. I am definitely looking forward to going to the rest of the four sessions next week and beyond!