Tag Archives: Nathen Spitz

Liver Bits, Cold Glocks, and Cancer of the Cancer

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“He who laughs has not yet heard the bad news.”

Photo by firepile

Co-hosts Nathen Spitz, Brandon Bacalzo, Mariam Mansour, and Greta Becker rehash their recent microbiology exam which they say kicked their butts, and how they deal with that nasty feeling. Dave discusses what Naegleria Fowleri means to him. Nathen and Mariam reminisce on their experiences with patient instructors and standardized patients.

And the gang practices giving bad news to their patients, using made-up diseases with names created by neural networks and assisted by their attending “Dr. Etler.”

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Timing a peace-corps gap year, and Racism and Medicine

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Photo by Fibonacci Blue

A group of public professionals, infectious disease professionals and community members are pushing back on the common perception that #BLM protests will unnecessarily exacerbate the pandemic. This news leads to a discussion of racism in America. NB: The discussion should speak for itself, but this is the age of internet outrage. So we acknowledge that when it comes to talking about racism in America, there are few better ways to go wrong than by doing so with a room full of white people. And yet, a handful of white people on a podcast that’s minimally planned is what we had to work with in the moment. We hope we got it mostly right, and whatever we didn’t, we hope that your feedback will be in the spirit in which the discussion took place–heartfelt, sincere, and with an eye towards a future free of white fragility, fear, and especially marginalization.

But before all that, we were blessed with listener question from Kayla, who’s looking forward to some gap years in the Peace Corps. What should she do about the resulting timing problem that creates for her future medical school application?


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So, in our discussion on racism, what did we get wrong, and what did we get right? Express your constructive criticism at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  

More Signs that Med School Will Be Different This Fall

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[This episode is brought to you by Pattern. We hope you’ll check out their disability insurance offerings for docs at http://patternlife.com/partner/shortcoat.]

As many of us are, The Short Coats–including this week’s M1 co-hosts Nathen Spitz, Maddie Wahlen, and Caitlin Matteson–have been gazing into their cracked crystal ball to discover the new shape of medical school amid the pandemic. In a previous episode, the crew prognosticated on how interviews would change (and how you can be sure those changes won’t scuttle your chances for interview success), for instance…and it turns out we were right! Adding some certainty to that, the Association of American Medical Colleges has cancelled all its conferences until July of 2021. So yeah.

Sandgroper Largemun, an anonymous listener from Australia, wants to know some ways that he can stand out in medical school to land that choice residency. Good thing you wrote to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com, Sandgroper, because we have ideas for that!


This Week in Medical News

Dave thinks heartthrob Dr. Fauci’s sun is setting as a leading member of the President’s COVID-19 task force. What do you think?

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Has your outlook changed at all since the lockdowns began? Are you feeling optimistic? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  

What We’re Still Doing, What Brings Us Joy

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Photo by Martin Lindstrom

Dave asked listeners what they’re doing to help out in the time of COVID-19 and got some responses back to talk about.  These things, whether big or small, directly related or tangential to this public health crisis–even if it means staying at home–are all part of an unusual effort among the people of the world to contribute to a greater purpose.  Whether it’s making PPE, making explainer videos, picking up garbage outside, or staying home, it’s all important.

Which reminded Dave of a New Yorker article on why many people find it so difficult to believe that this massive effort of social distancing and lockdowns is a good idea.

And we talk about the things that still are able to bring us joy even when we can’t venture out of the house.


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You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

We Want to Hear From You

What is bringing you joy these days? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Covid-19 could change the world…forever

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Photo by davide.alberani

There’s no doubt that the global pandemic of COVID-19 has caused much human suffering.  And for those people around the world who are the worst affected, know that you have our deepest sympathies.  No one should have to go through this.

Nevertheless, something compelled Dave to think about the ways that society might change as a result of the pandemic…in some ways, perhaps for the better; in others, perhaps things will just different than were before.  Either way, co-hosts Eric Boeshart, Kenzie McKnight, Michael Gardeau, and Nathen Spitz try to look into the crystal ball a bit.

Next up, the crew answers some listener questions.  “Lex Turesboreme”  wants some advice on using lectures wisely when attendance isn’t required.  And Soon-to-be-Dr-Ray is looking for some perspectives on which school to enroll in: the DO school or the MD school.  We’re on it, friends!

And Dave takes the opportunity to put on his fake medical educator hat to give a pop quiz on historical epidemics.


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You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

We Want to Hear From You

What are your predictions or fears for how your education will be affected? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We’d love to hear from you.

Continue reading Covid-19 could change the world…forever

Step 1 is Pass/Fail. Now what???

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Photo by ˙Cаvin 〄

Does making Step 1 pass/fail change everything?

The news that the USMLE changed the all-important Step 1 exam–which many residency programs have been using improperly to stratify applicants and which can affect one’s specialty choice–to pass/fail starting in 2022-ish caused quite a bit of shock and consternation last week.  Sure, some celebrated the change as a victory, but there’s just one liiiiiittle problem: the more competitive residency programs feel they need some standardized measure to base their choices on.

Several listeners wrote in with questions on the change, and the underlying concerns those questions addressed was the uncertainty left in the wake of this change–to wit, “what am I to aim for if there is no three-digit score I can point to as a mark of excellence?”  Though the powers-that-be are essentially responding, “we’re working on it, we’ll get back to you on that,” there are some possibilities to consider.   And we shall, with the help of M4 Matt Wilson, MD/PhD students Aline Sandouk and Hannah Van Ert, and M1 Nathen Spitz.

Special thanks to listener Terrified Chihuahua and everyone who reached out with questions on this sudden shift in the medical education landscape!


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

We Want to Hear From You

What are your thoughts on how a pass/fail Step 1 score will change medical education and the residency application process? Did we miss anything? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!

Continue reading Step 1 is Pass/Fail. Now what???

Turkey, Telomerase, and Time-Turning Trauma Treatment

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Happy Thanksgiving, bishes!

turkey photo
Uh, uh, nope, I’m out. Photo by chumlee10

FYI, there’s new merch for charity (stickers!) at at theshortcoat.com/store! Also, It’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America, and as we ‘muricans collapse on our sofas replete with turkey with all the trimmings, let us give thanks that M1s Nathen Spitz and Morgan Kennedy, and MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk are here to discuss auto brewery syndrome (or how to be a guilt-free Thanksgiving Day day-drinker if you want your life ruined for years by a real zebra of an illness).

And the gang tries to string together arbitrary medical words into illnesses and breakthrough treatments.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

Trauma surgeons at the University of Maryland let the world know that they’re the first in the US to put patients in suspended animation.  And Dave doesn’t understand at all why media outlets are giving a seemingly minor development in aging research–we share some of the features of an important cell replication enzyme with plants, woot!–“breakthrough” status.

We Want to Hear From You

Did anyone in your family embarrass or annoy you on Thanksgiving? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Turkey, Telomerase, and Time-Turning Trauma Treatment

Microaggressions: preparing to experience, witness, and commit them

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Photo by F H Mira

Good intentions are everywhere.  Good behavior…well, that’s more complicated.  Such is the case with microaggressions, the term coined by Harvard University psychiatrist Chester Pierce in 1970 to describe minor yet hurtful comments.  Pierce’s original definition encompassed statements aimed at African Americans, but of course one can accidentally or purposefully put down any minority individual–women, LGBTQ+ individuals, non-white ethnicities, and more.

Unfortunately, nearly 50 years after Dr. Pierce proposed the term, microaggressions are still a thing.  Dave admits to his sins, and M1s Sahaanna Arumagam and Nathen Spitz, along with SCP intern Joel Horne discuss how to prepare for the inevitability of witnessing, experiencing, and  committing microaggressions.

Plus, can this week’s co-hosts diagnose their weird patients’ quirks?


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

Speaking of good intentions gone awry, hospitals are relying on AI algorithms to direct extra treatment at those who need it, except the AI thinks wealthy white people are needier than African American patients.  And researchers announce an effective treatment for 90% of cystic fibrosis patients.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your microaggression stories? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Microaggressions: preparing to experience, witness, and commit them

Terms and Conditions Apply

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Mothers Want To Know

rooster photoCo-host and MD/PhD student Miranda Schene is a woman who has obviously been raised well.  So when her mother, Ginny, wrote to theshortcoats@gmail.com asking about the surprises med school had in store for this week’s gang, Dave–who also loves his mother–couldn’t very well say no!  M1 Nathen Spitz and M2 Jenna Mullins, along with new co-host M1 Bryn Myers join in to give Mama Ginny the deets.

Plus Dave asks if his co-hosts can find and supply doctors’ testimonials for some As-Seen-On-TV products.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

The plight of a Colorado prisoner sheds more light on the abysmal healthcare incarcerated mothers-to-be get.  And some interesting case studies show why it might not be a good idea to keep roosters in your backyard if you have varicose veins; and what a diet of chips, fries, and sausages can do to your eyes.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your favorite case studies? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Dave can’t get enough!

Continue reading Terms and Conditions Apply

Medicine Has a DARK Past

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Some of the most important contributions to knowledge have come at a terrible price

good and evil photoThe BBC featured a story on their site about an anatomy atlas that was created by a Nazi doctor, and the images within are those of hundreds of dissected political prisoners.  The very conditions in Hitler’s concentration camps may have been among the reasons why these illustrations are so detailed.  It is a terrible piece of work.  This book, now out of print for decades, is still on the shelves of surgeons and consulted (if rather furtively) when they run out of other options.  But new co-hosts Morgan Kennedy, Nathen Spitz, Margurite Jakubiak, along with M2 Madeline Cusimano,  have to ask–can its vast utility outweigh it’s evil origins?  Short Coats, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Plus the gang visits Yahoo! Answers to practice their patient-communication skills, sort of.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

Pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma were both in the news recently as opioid manufacturers who will be paying millions for their roles in the opioid epidemic.  And a study suggests intermittent fasting (a practice in some religions but also a method of dieting) may be effective at limiting inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

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Send us your thoughts on today’s topics!!! Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.comContinue reading Medicine Has a DARK Past