Chris McCulloh, MD

General surgery resident. Trance/Progressive House DJ/Producer. Person with a disability (spinal cord injury).

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I’ve been trying to think about how I’ll integrate writing into residency and having some difficulty. There are certainly a number of stories that would be worth sharing, but of course I can’t share any details of specific patients that would identify them. And some healthcare bloggers have gotten into trouble in the past for things they had written. Roughly one year ago an interesting survey was posted that looked into different things relating to social media that would get physicians in trouble. Most of them are common sense - don’t post patient narratives with identifiable information, don’t post photos of medical treatment without patient consent, don’t try to date your patients.

So rather than try to think about how to integrate writing into residency, I think I’ll just do it.

It’s hard to believe, but I’m already six months into residency. The entire program is five years

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I’m going to interrupt the series I’ve started writing looking back on each of the four years of medical school for a minute. This weekend, I was able to drop the “Almost” from the blog’s description of “Almost MD.” I’ve made it. I’m officially a graduate. But as one of our lecturers said back in first year, you aren’t a physician just because you’ve graduated from medical school and have an “MD” after your name.

Do I feel like a physician now? No. But the ceremonies this weekend really did a great deal to emphasize the significance of the milestone that my classmates and I have reached. I was fortunate enough to attend an incredible medical school with incredible students at Case Western. At the very beginning of first year, before we even attended a single lecture, we received our white coats at the White Coat Ceremony. It’s akin to being indoctrinated into Skull and Bones -

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MS1: The First Year of Medical School - The Beginnings of A Transformation

This is is part of a series of reflections on medical school that I’m writing, with each new post being a reflection on each year. I’ve previously written an overview of what this series will entail.

All year, I’ve been facilitating a small group of first year medical students once a week as part of Case Western’s “Foundations of Clinical Medicine” program (FCM). Affectionately known as “touchy-feely Tuesdays,” it’s the component of our curriculum that deals with the doctor-patient relationship, and professionalism. During first and second year, Case students stick with the same FCM small group and discuss various issues each week. When I look at the classmates that were in my FCM group and what they’re going to do for residency, I’m not at all surprised by any of them. They are a fantastic fit for what they’re going into, based on what I saw those first two years.


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Reflections on Four Years in Medical School

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the last four years. Two days ago marked the last day of my last rotation in medical school. I’m done. I have been officially informed by the registrar that I have been approved to graduate, so at this point, I’m just getting ready to move and transition to life as a resident in general surgery. Just waiting to put on that cap and gown and to begin changing all my website registrations from “Mr.” to “Dr.” And with that come many thoughts about these years and how they have changed me from the person who arrived at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine just about four years ago.

The timing has been right for just this kind of thing, especially this last week: I was on my last rotation in medical school, and also continue to be involved in teaching medical students in other years. Over the past two weeks, I have had the fortune of

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Hey, that’s me on TV!

Aired today, on CBS’s The Doctors:

If the embedded video just above doesn’t play for you, head on over to to watch it on their site via Flash.

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Kids Say the Darndest Things

As a person who uses a wheelchair, I get all kinds of comments: strange, funny, inappropriately personal, roundabout, and just plain baffling. And probably a whole lot more adjectives that I can’t think of right now. Some of my favorite encounters are with kids. One of the great things about children is their natural curiosity and inquisitiveness. They see the world through un-jaded eyes that haven’t been strangled by societal norms or biases. So I typically welcome and engage their questions, which might otherwise be strange or offensive from an adult who would be asking from a different frame of mind, in the hopes that I can turn the experience into one that helps them grow up with the idea that people who have different physical abilities are just like anybody else.

Several years ago, while working in a pediatric and adolescent clinic, I was examining a boy somewhere between

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Do we really need surgical masks and caps in the operating room?

Prior to one’s first surgical rotation in medical school, each student is required to attend training with the staff that oversees OR operations. That training includes what protective equipment to wear, how to scrub, and how to maintain sterility. Many, many students have had experiences during third year where they’ve been yelled at by OR staff for nearly contaminating some of the equipment. And in some cases, for actually doing so. But it’s all for good reason - ensuring the patient’s safety and protection.

One component of those protective measures is appropriate attire, including a sterile gown, sterile gloves, a face mask, and a cap on the head (the mask and cap are non-sterile). The goal of all of these items is to minimize the chance of any infection. I’ve seen attendings not involved in a case standing at the OR door to just speak to another attending, ten or more feet

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Somewhere, I Have a Match

Medical education is a bit mysterious. Heck, it’s something I’d wanted to do since I was younger, but I had no idea exactly how it works until I started to go through the process myself. When I decided for sure in undergrad that I was going to apply to medical school, I learned what steps I needed to take to make that dream into reality. I discovered what pre-requisite courses I needed to take, how to go about getting recommendations from professors (not the easiest thing at a very large university, like the one I went to), what was on the MCAT, and how to go basically hang out in a hospital as a volunteer to demonstrate my dedication. I knew nothing about what happens after applying medical school because I didn’t need to.

I remember the moment at which I decided that surgery was about the coolest thing anybody could possibly do. It was at my best friend’s home in fifth grade

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