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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.


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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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Elders Need Docs Who Understand Them (ft. Louise Aronson, MD)

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Elders are not just sickly adults.

Author photo
Louise Aronson, MD, author of Elderhood.

Ours is an aging society, and as the populations skews older, medicine has begun to realize that treating elder patients isn’t the same as treating adults or children.  Treating the conditions of older people means that clinicians have to understand them in ways that go beyond diseases and drugs.  Hence, the science of geriatrics.  Dr. Louise Aronson is a geriatrician and the author of Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life (Bloomsbury 2019).  It’s a beautifully written book the focuses on the stories of our elders and what they can teach us about their needs both biological and psychological.  Among the things co-hosts Miranda Schene, Emma Barr, Mason LaMarche and Nick Lind learned:

  • Older people respond in unpredictable ways to medications.  Often the work of a geriatrician is to ‘deprescribe’ medicines that are hurting them.
  • Never undervalue the things that are important to elders just because they aren’t medicines or procedures.  If the patient needs something from their doctor that increases their success in life, then it’s important.
  • Recognizing when you as a doctor are doing things for you, vs. when you’re doing things for your patient is important.
  • Older people are no longer beyond help simply due to age.  With the right training and an in-depth understanding of the science of aging, huge gains can be made in treating the serious disorders of elderhood.
  • American medicine’s concept of “the Good Death” (aka, dying at home surrounded by loved ones) isn’t a given for elders.  Understanding what elders want, rather than subscribing to some monolithic idea, is important.

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Are you considering geriatrics, and why?  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Elders Need Docs Who Understand Them (ft. Louise Aronson, MD)

Slipping On The Short Coat

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The first step in med school

The Carver College of Medicine held its 25th annual White Coat Ceremony at Hancher Auditorium for first-year students beginning their medical education at Iowa on Friday, August 16, 2019

Ceremonies are important.  If you’re like Dave, you think they’re a bit of a pain–you have to dress up and keep a straight face.  But as a bit of (lengthy) symbolism, they do have their place, and the White Coat Ceremony is no exception.  Maddie Mix and Aline Sandouk reflect on their White Coat Ceremonies and what it meant to them to be standing up in front of those they admired, respected, and loved, and promised to essentially selflessly give their lives to medicine in return for admiration, respect, and love of their own.

Of course, since Aline got kicked out of Cedar Rapids’ Paramount Theater for using her cell phone by a very angry usher, I guess that respect and love she can expect from others will only go so far.  It makes a good story, though, and was totally offset by a bit of feedback she got from a listener.  Remember–you can send questions or feedback to theshortcoats@gmail.com!  We love it!


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This Week in Medical News

Another month, another new organ no one’s EVER noticed before.  Ebola gets a new, very promising treatment.  And the ongoing reproducibility crisis in research gets another look, this time from a study in the BMJ that looks at authors’ use of “spin.”

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As we begin the next admissions cycle, we offer free advice!  How can we help? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime,  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Slipping On The Short Coat

Think Ahead to Save Your Soul

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Why med students should think ahead about their response to unethical requests

dilemma photoBrandon Bacalzo and Angeline Vanle join the team as incoming medical students. Luckily for them they have the chance to put questions about med school to M2 Nick Lind and M3 Brady Campbell, including how to find the new study habits they’ll need to succeed.

Ethical objections to a controversial practice in medical education have been simmering for a while, so we discuss how medical students should prepare for potential dilemmas that may occur during their training.  And Dave is snared by clickbait yet again–because who wouldn’t want to know more about how tickling elders could keep them young?  And are there other kinds of stimulation we should study to cure disease?


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This Week in Medical News

Artificial intelligence is always fun, so we try out an app that measures your stress level, pulse, and (one-day) your blood pressure just by looking at your face.

We Want to Hear From You

What are (were) you thinking about when you started medical school?  Did your hopes and fears pan out?  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Think Ahead to Save Your Soul

Cracking Open the Firehose

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A select group of students is introduced to med ed

bait photo
Photo by digitizedchaos

For those who have been out of the student game for a while, or who feel they need a little extra time to get acclimated to the fast pace of medical education, there are programs like our Intro to Medical Education at Iowa. Whatever an individual school calls it, these programs can act as a bridge between your life before med school to the rigours of learning medicine.  On this episode that Dave forgot to release a while back because he went on vacation, we meet pre-M1s in our program,  Nicole Lacina, Timothy Morris, and Alec James.  They and their teaching assistant, regular co-host Jacob Chrestensen are here to have some fun and describe what it’s like to crack the firehose with this program instead of taking it full in the face.

Plus, Dave’s unreasonable susceptibility to clickbait leads him to make up a new game.  Can the co-hosts get him to click on their article with their crazy headlines?  Yes.   Yes, they can.


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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

Are you starting med school this fall? What did you do to prepare yourself? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Cracking Open the Firehose

Recess Rehash: Advice for your first clinicals: slow your roll.

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[Dave’s vacation continues, so here’s a rerun to keep you occupied.  New show next week!]

Can you trust MSAR?

When listener Caven wrote in asking why CCOM graduates don’t include hardly any specialists and why they all seemed to be going into primary care, Dave was puzzled.  While it’s true that a state school like ours, serving a rural part of the country, emphasizes primary care, he knew that not ‘everyone’ goes into primary care.  On further questioning, it turns out Caven’s info came from the Medical School Application Requirements (MSAR) tool on the AAMC website!  What was going on?  Dave sought help from his friends in Admissions, and it turns out that MSAR doesn’t tell the whole story…and aspiring med students have to dig deeper.

Also, Dave asks his co-hosts Matt Wilson and Tony Mai, both rising M4s, to give their advice for those starting clinical rotations.  And they help Aline Sandouk and LJ Agostinelli answer some of Yahoo! Answers most probing health questions.


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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!

This Week in Medical News

There’s good news in med school diversity–the number of students underrepresented in medicine is on the rise.  A paper in Nature Microbiology says the authors have found an easy and economic way to convert A and B red blood cells to type O cells, the universal donor type.  And a study in JAMA notes that patients of surgeons who behave unprofessionally around their colleagues have more complications.  Plus, cell phone horns are probably not a thing.

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What’s questions can we answer for you? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Advice for your first clinicals: slow your roll.

Recess Rehash: Here’s Vomit In Your Eyes

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mad scientist photo
Photo by glen edelson

[Dave’s out of town this week, so enjoy this rerun!]

Admissions counselor Megan Kosovski joins the fun to help LJ Agostinelli, Aline Sandouk, and new co-host Armin Avdic answer some listener questions.  Claire, for instance, wants to know if she needs to quit her job as a radiation tech to fulfill pre-med requirements like shadowing and volunteering.  And Elizabeth wants to know what colleges typically do when personal difficulties arise between one’s peers and mentors.

Plus, Dave satisfies his pretensions to be a medical educator by giving the crew a pop quiz.  Can they discern which strange research project is the actual strange research project and not one Dave made up?


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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!

This Week in Medical News

The AAMC offers insight into a ‘new’ trend in medical education: the three-year fast-track MD degree program. It’s been tried before in times of shortages…is the time right to roll it out again to address physician shortages and high student debt?

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The Short Coats offer free advice! Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!  We’ll try to help!

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Here’s Vomit In Your Eyes

Millennials may be changing healthcare (ft. Martin Makary, MD)

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Continuing our recent discussion on the price of healthcare in the United States, on this episode we talk with Dr. Martin Makary.  Dr. Makary is a surgeon at Johns Hopkins, a best-selling author, and a health policy expert. Dr. Makary’s latest book entitled The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care–and How to Fix It, is due out in September.  We were so glad to talk with him, because it’s all-too-easy to be jaded about the ‘business’ of healthcare when one in five Americans are in collections over healthcare debt.  But Dr. Makary combines outrage at the market forces that have created a used-car-lot sales environment with optimism about healthcare’s future prospects for transparency and fairness.  Things are changing, he says!  Interestingly, the medical students doing research with him–pouring their hearts, souls, and minds into it–have helped to create that sense of optimism in him.  In other words, millennials may be saving American healthcare even as they’re killing the napkin and real estate industries.

On top of all that, while The Price We Pay is an indictment of the insurance and billing practices that hinder the work of doctors and the healing of patients, the book is also a guidebook to the things that can and are being done to restore medicine’s mission.


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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!

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I’m looking at you, millennials: what do you think? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Millennials may be changing healthcare (ft. Martin Makary, MD)

Recess Rehash: Your Romance Could End In Tears, But It Doesn’t Have To!

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Your Relationship Can Endure Med School…If You Plan Ahead.

love photo
Photo by JohnnyLCY

[It’s summer, and the living is easy.  In other words, we’re taking a break this week, so enjoy this recent episode instead of a new one!]

We’re devoting this episode to the perils of love between med students and their non-medical partners.  Despite the clickbait title (don’t hate the player, hate the game), it isn’t destined to end badly!  It just takes lots and lots of patience, communication, and sacrifice, not to mention a plan.  Kelsey Adler, Madeline Slater, Terry Hayes, and new co-host Chris Schanbacher–all married or in committed relationships with people who aren’t medical learners–are ready to offer an anonymous listener advice on keeping love alive with her soon-to-be med student.  Plus, we talk about how med students socialize, how “their persons” can join in some of the more fun bits, and what changes significant others can expect to change about their relationships.

To cap off their hard-earned words of wisdom, Dave decided to see how close his co-hosts and their “persons” really are, with a bit of fun we’re calling The NewlyMed Game.  Will each couples’ answers to Dave’s questions agree?  Will their loving relationships dissolve in acrimony when they disagree?  That’s a chance Dave’s willing to take!


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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

Are you dating a medical student?  What advice do you have for others? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Your Romance Could End In Tears, But It Doesn’t Have To!

The Mysteries of the Cost of Healthcare ft. Dan Weissmann

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An Arm and a Leg

shocked photoDan Weissmann is a former NPR journalist who was interested in the crazy world of healthcare costs in America.  He’d suggested to his former bosses that he start covering people’s stories of dealing with their medical care and it’s often unpredictably wallet-sucking expenses, reasoning that the subject is one we all can relate to.  Plus, he though, it’s a damn important topic with political, economic, and personal implications.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the story he’d been employed to tell, so he back-burnered the idea.

Until one day he decided to leave radio and strike out on his own.  As Dan put it to co-hosts Aline Sandouk, Laura Quast, and Dr. John Pienta, suddenly that story was very personal.  After all, he didn’t have health insurance through an employer anymore, and he found it difficult to even make a decision on what insurance to buy since that industry (and its collaborators in healthcare) makes choosing intentionally difficult by not supplying information we usually rely on to make purchasing choices.  So he started his new job, one he created for himself, a podcast he named An Arm and a Leg.  Now in its second season, the show explores the topsy-turvy world of paying for health, using the stories of real people.  Those people are incredibly easy to find, too, because they are our friends, neighbors, relatives, acquaintances, strangers, men, women, children…all of us are victims.  If we want to fix it, Dan’s here to say that our best hope is listen to and understand these stories, because we’re all in this mess together.


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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!

This Week in Medical News

This week, president Donald Trump signed an executive order that would require insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors to give patients more info about the prices they’ll pay for healthcare…but some say he have consulted with Danish cement manufacturers?  And Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders uses a puzzling figure to support his signature campaign issue of “Medicare-for-all”…a figure that Politifact and Kaiser Health News isn’t so positive about.

We Want to Hear From You

What stories have you heard about the damage caused by spiraling and opaque healthcare costs? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading The Mysteries of the Cost of Healthcare ft. Dan Weissmann