Voices from behind the doors: Queen’s School of Medicine

Galen Eye Centre

Checking up on Queen’s Med students

My favourite part of medical school so far has been interacting with a patient and realizing I actually know the solution to their problem.

It’s great when you’re in your first and second year and they take you into the hospital and you take a patient’s history and you do a medical exam. Then, in your fourth year clinical, you see patients and you treat them under the supervision of the staff. For me, the best part has been that moment when someone is telling you about why they came into the hospital and you’re examining them and you realize what’s wrong and you know how to fix it.

— Casey Petrie, QMED ’17 

This little girl in the emergency room comes in and she’s got something stuck in her ear. Looking in you can see it and she’s really scared to have it pulled out because it’ll be a bit painful.

So, I was joking around with her, trying to calm her down, and said, “I think it’s a lion,” and she didn’t believe me.

“It’s too big I’ve seen a lion. You couldn’t fit a lion in my ear,” she said.

So I look back in and say, “You know, I made a mistake. It’s definitely a giraffe.”

Once again, she didn’t believe me so I asked if she’d ever seen a baby giraffe and she hadn’t. So I said, “Well I have, and I’m pretty sure there’s one in your ear.” She got all startled and said, “Oh my god mom, there’s a giraffe in my ear!”

So anyways, we covered it and gave her some pain medication and we had to go in with a little vacuum that sucks the ball and yanks it out. It’s painful, but we get it out and it’s like a little hard ball, like a marble that she had been playing with I guess.

I told her that we have these magic popsicles that make pain go away, specifically ear pain and we can give her some popsicles.

She’s having a good time, and when they were getting ready to leave the emergency department, she came to my staff doctor and goes, “Doctor, doctor! I don’t think he should pass, he thought the marble was a giraffe! It doesn’t look anything like a giraffe.” And out she went.

One of the running jokes during the rest of my time in the emergency department was that they shouldn’t have let me pass because I clearly don’t know my animals.

— Alex Chase, QMED ’17 

I obviously want to become a competent physician, but at the same time I think I want to remain engaged in advocacy and teaching throughout the local and broad community, hoping to get involved in more actual government instead of student government, where I’ll probably start in.

I actually went on a medical elective in Tanzania where we basically were on a medical caravan where we took a bunch of supplies.

There was this little bus with like four or five medical students, a couple of doctors and a bunch of nurses and we just took three months rolling through these villages in Tanzania.

We’d see people who had never seen a physician before and we’d do a full head-to-toe assessment, and then would
be like: “Okay, you need X, Y, Z medications,” send them to the pharmacy and give them free medications based on the donations we brought.

It was such a humbling and heartwarming experience because it’s such a positive impact on people who’ve never had access to healthcare, along with other critical needs of life, like fresh water, literacy and food. I think serving their healthcare needs also serves to provide them with a better quality of life when the other things are missing. I think I want to keep building on that to bring about some positive change in the global field and accessibility to healthcare.

— Chintan Dave, QMED ’17

Something I think is really amazing about medicine, but is also one of its potential limitations, is that’s it’s a very
individualistic approach.

You have a person in front of you, and you talk with them and you try to figure out what’s going on in their life and how a certain medical condition may be affecting them. You work within the context of that one particular person and their own complicated life and social circumstances and the particular manifestation of their disease and you try to meet the mark of where they are in life.

So, I really like the idea of the individual approach, you really get to know someone and its really fulfilling because you get to see how it affects their lives and their abilities to enjoy their own life.

— Sophie Palmer, QMED ’17

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