Human Anatomy at Colby

The MaineGeneral Medical Center Experience

February 14th, 2014 · Comments Off on The MaineGeneral Medical Center Experience

Amanda Millatt

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            On January 21st, 2013 at 5 pm my anatomy and physiology class embarked on a journey to the Alfond Center for Health. This newly constructed hospital located on Old Belgrade Road in Augusta, Maine opened on November 9th, 2013 (Edwards, 2013). This hospital is a $312 million facility part of MaineGeneral Medical Center. The Alfond Center for Health consists of 192 beds in single occupancy rooms and employs approximately 1,700 people (Edwards, 2013).

My class of 18 students travels about 20 minutes on a yellow school bus to get to the Alfond Center for Health. As we approached the approximately 64,000 square-foot facility I could not help but think that the modernized to almost futurist architecture completely modified the atmosphere of the hospital (Edwards, 2013). The welcoming building was painted a mellow green, thus the building is perceived by the guest as calming rather than terrifying. The building also utilized windows, which stretched from the roof to the ground. The entrance also welcomed guest with an abundance of plants and benches. The whole class gazed at the building and then processed into the building stopping at the front desk.

The inside of the hospital continued the natural , calming atmosphere with earth toned walls and decor. The employees had a soothing smile as they walked past our large group. At that point I was convinced that I was no longer in a hospital. A traditional hospital would have an eerie and reserved aura that causes patients to feel uncomfortable.  We continued to create nametags while sauntering up the stairs. The hallway was lined with plaques about the history of healthcare in the region leading up to the construction of this building. We followed it to a moderately sized conference room filled with residents of the University of New England Medical School. There we were split up into tour groups; we were organized into groups of four Colby students and two medical school students. My tour group started at the welcoming building’s front desk. Our guides informed us that the purpose of the building design is to have the patients feel that they are closer to nature, which will help with their rehabilitation. I agreed with that, the hospital embodied nature even before you stepped into the door.

While walking to our next destination, out patient rooms, I noticed that my tour guides had a badge attached to their stark white lab coats that read “D.O”. I had never seen or heard of that acronym before now. So out of curiosity I asked  “ What does D.O stand for?”. The tour guides did not look astonished or insulted as I originally expected them to, instead one responded that a D.O is a doctor of orthopedic medicine.  They continued with saying that this type of doctor is taught everything that a M.D is taught, however they focus on more on healing through massaging tissue rather than medicating their patients. I found that the technique of D.O’s are more logical than modern medicine practices, which made me wonder why D.Os weren’t as common as M.Ds. All that I could conclude was that the Doctors of Orthopedic Medicine are the most sensible choice for the modern appeal that the Alfond center desired.

We then continued to the peculiar out patient rooms. The rooms’ front wall was replaced with a larger, clear sliding glass door; this was unlike other examination rooms. I had always felt confined in the small windowless examination rooms at my own hospital. These rooms were spacious and colorful, however the windows created openness to a room that I felt needed more privacy. I was afraid to ask if the doctors felt pressured or awkward while examining patients because anyone could see their performance.

We only went to two other areas on our tour; the doctors on call rooms and the cafeteria. There were about six rooms for the doctors that are needed by the hospitals in the early mornings or at unusual times at night. These rooms were equipped with a flat screen television, computer, bed, bathroom, desk and telephone.  The room may have been simple, but it was successful in serving its purpose. As the guides discussed the purpose of the rooms, I realized the hectic and unorganized life of a doctor. Doctors sometimes have to spend days at the hospital without seeing their family or getting a break.  I had always wanted to be a surgeon; nevertheless I do want to have a family and social life separate from my career. After being in this hospital for an hour I had completely changed my perspective of hospitals and my future.

Our final destination on the tour was the cafeteria. The cafeteria was brightly lite and painted vibrant colors. The tour guides told us that we will find a table and they would continue to answer questions about the healthcare field. We sat at a rectangular table that was far away from everyone in the room and the question segment of the tour commenced. To break the silence, I asked about the process of applying to medical school.  One of our tour guides told us about applying through a medical school common app, tips for the interview and selecting a medical school to attend. Then she talked about how some of her peers applying to medical school did not apply after completing their undergraduate degree.  Some traveled around the world and others decided to play sports. They all decided that they needed a break before going on the stressful path of becoming a doctor. I had not considered taking a break, but the popularity of this option had increased among pre-med students. She continued with saying that some medical schools appreciate that the applicant has more real world experience because this shows that they are confident about attending medical school.  After about an hour of small talk it was time for the grand rounds, which are presentation about medical case studies by high school students from Kent Hill and Colby College students. Our tour had ended and so did my naive perception of healthcare.

I did not realize that this class trip would teach me so much about doctors and hospitals in general.  I have always thought of hospitals as creepy and daunting because of my hospital’s design. After visiting the Alfond Center of Health, I can now see that the future of healthcare is bright. If more hospitals renovations were inspired by the Alfond center than more patients would not be as anxious to attend routine examinations. I also learned that I needed to critically think about my future as a doctor. I have always wanted to be a surgeon, but the long days and stressful medical school education caused me to reconsider. I am only a freshman in college; I still have time to reconsider my life choices. I am glad that I was able to have this experience; it has changed my life.

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Resources

1. EDWARDS, KEITH. “MaineGeneral Opens Alfond Center, Naturally.” Portland Press Herald. N.p., 29 Sept. 2013. Web. 04 Feb. 2014. <http://www.pressherald.com/news/mainegeneral-opens-alfond-center-naturally_2013-09-29.html?pagenum=full>.

 

 

Tags: Maine General

Amanda Millatt: Personal Goals Achieved

February 14th, 2014 · Comments Off on Amanda Millatt: Personal Goals Achieved

Amanda Millatt

29859

            As a freshman I didn’t have any prior knowledge about college. I came to Colby College with an open mind and more importantly attentive listening skills. I would bombard my upperclassmen friends with questions ranging from the most interesting classes to when the best time to get lunch is. My most pressing questions were always about Jan Plan. This one-month course of study was not available at many other schools and was not discussed often on college online forums. This meant that all throughout December I asked my friends who participated in Jan Plan last year about their experiences. I continued to receive the same answers; easy, relaxed, GPA booster, etc. I was convinced that every Jan Plan class would be a breeze. That thought motivated me to select human anatomy and physiology as my number one choice. I always loved knowing facts and concepts about the human body. Then when I found out that I was placed into the class I was extremely excited because I would be learning about a topic that I find fascinating and have a break from the heavy course load that I experienced last semester. However, I found out the first day of class that I was incorrect.

The first day of class started with an explanation of the syllabus as usual. My professor informed us that his expectation for the class was not for us to learn all the information, but to try our best at each task. Then he processed to inform our class of 25 students about the layout of our short semester. We were told that we would have a quiz everyday about material learned the day before in lecture, a group project worth 25% of our grade, a lab exam every week and various activates due online. I was shocked, but the next bit of information made me speechless. The registrar had recorded that each class would only be three hours, but our professor informed us that the class was actually four hours. Within the first hour of class I was determined to drop it. I had thought that I would get to sleep in late, study for a minimal amount of time and read non-academic books. My preconceived notion about this anatomy and physiology class left me confused and upset. I was not the only person with this mindset; about five other students dropped the class. I went home after class with one question on my mind; should I drop this class or challenge myself?

I decided that my love for the human anatomy outweighed my craving for sleep. The first week was horrible, but I managed to get through it. My daily routine was a 9:00 AM hour and half of anatomy and two hours of physiology till 12:00 PM from Monday through Wednesday. After class I was very unproductive, in fact I did not begin studying until about 10 pm. I knew the lab exam was on Thursday, however I did not start studying till the night before. I did atrocious on all of the physiology quizzes and failed my first lab exam. I was ashamed and disappointed in my performance for this class. I collected my thoughts and made a game plan for success.

My second week of class was more of a success for me. Before each class I would print out the PowerPoint slides for both the lab and the lecture. This helped me take faster and clearer notes in class; I could also review the slides while eating breakfast. After class everyday, I would go straight to the lab to learn and review what we were taught in class for at least an hour. At the end of the week I felt confident because I had studied each structure more than five times. To confirm my knowledge of the anatomy I went to study for the test on the weekend before my Tuesday lab exam. I improved a tremendous amount on my second lab exam losing most of my points for spelling. Nonetheless I was still not meeting my expectations for my lecture quizzes, which meant that I needed to change my study habits.

On the third week of class, I continued to go to lab everyday after class and print out the slides before class. The only aspect I changed was how I went about studying for quizzes. I started to study the lecture slides at around 7 PM followed with a 40-minute nap. Then I woke up and studied each slide while listening to the recorded lecture. This really helped me understand the material and that week I did very well on my quizzes. I was finally proud with the amount of effort I was putting into the class.

My last week of class was one of the worst weeks because three major components of the class were due within a day of each other. We had a lab examine on Tuesday, so as usual I went to the lab twice over the weekend to review all the structures. Then all of Wednesday I had to study for the final lecture exam and prepare for my ground rounds presentation due on the same day (Thursday). That Thursday was over as soon as it arrived. I turned in my final exam and started breathing again. I immediately climbed into my bed and reflected on the past month.

I was proud of my academic growth. I had completely changed my study habits and gave the class my all. I was satisfied with my performance although I did not receive A’s on every assignment; I was just proud of myself for never giving up. I may not be the most intelligent student, but I am a hard working student. This course prepared me for my rigorous semester and medical school. I started human anatomy and physiology a motivated student and left the class a hard worker driven by the motivation to be successful. Thank you Professor Klepach for everything!

 

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Ground Rounds: The Relationship Between Coronary Heart Disease and Childhood Obesity

January 29th, 2014 · Comments Off on Ground Rounds: The Relationship Between Coronary Heart Disease and Childhood Obesity

By: Amanda Millatt,  Michelle Daigle

    Coronary vasculature carry oxygen rich blood to the heart muscle and removes  oxygen depleted blood. The left and the right artery each supply blood to a different part of the heart. Atherosclerosis is a disease that causes plaque to build up in arteries. Plaque is a buildup that consists of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that can be found in blood. This plaque buildup can harden and narrow the arteries over the years, which limits the blood flow of oxygen-rich blood organs and other parts of the body. Atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries can completely block the flow of blood to the heart in some places or in others form a blood clot. This lack of blood to the heart tissues caused by a plaque buildup will cause  the heart muscle to die, thus causing a heart attack. The blockage of blood flow can cause angina, a symptom that simulates a discomfortable pressure in the chest area and sometimes can extend to other part of the body.

    A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the effects of adolescent obesity on coronary heart disease in adults for the projected year 2020. Through a series of studies relying on the U.S. census, the National Hospital Discharge Survey and a few other studies along with computer programs they were able to project the percentage of overweight adolescents who will develop coronary heart disease as adults. Having an elevated Body Mass Index (BMI), a calculation of your height and weight to determine weight classes, creates many different risk factors for coronary heart disease, which include hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes. To run this study researchers used the parameters of adult obesity being defined as a BMI of 30 or more and adolescent obesity as being in the 95th percentile on the growth charts. From this study done in 2000, researchers predicted that for the year 2020 the obesity rate for men and women is supposed to increase significantly. This elevates the risk of coronary heart disease by increasing the risk for plaque buildup in the blood, elevating diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol buildup in the blood and the risk for diabetes. They  also projected future obesity cases leading to coronary heart disease for the year 2035 and determined that the incidences of Coronary Heart Disease is expected to surpass 100,000 events for both their low, high, and average projections. Along these same lines they determined that through the use of treatment for high blood pressure and high cholesterol the rates of coronary heart disease due to obesity could be lowered.

Coronary Heart Disease  amillatt mdaigle

    Obesity has recently become prevalent in America because the increasing amount of sucrose in modern diets without fiber. Sucrose consist of glucose and fructose. America’s consumption of fructose went from 15g per day to now 75g per day. The explanation for obesity  starts with the increase of fructose which causes the pancreas to produce more insulin, hormone that signal cells to take sugar from the blood. Simultaneously glucose is metabolized by the whole body and stored as glycogen. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, however the body produced enough glycogen to suffice. Thus the liver converts the fructose into fat. The carbohydrates from the food consumed floods the tissues instantly turning into fat. This fat sends a hormone called leptin to the hypothalamus to tell the body to stop eating. The leptin is not received by the hypothalamus because the access insulin blocks the leptin. Thus causing the brain to think that the body needs more energy and the person continues eating.

Strategies to reduce childhood obesity are eat more fiber, reduce consumption of sugary drinks, wait 20 minute for a second plate of food and physical activity. The increase fiber consumption will cause a decrease in blood sugar level if three or more grams are consumed. The reduction of sugary drinks such as soda or orange juice, will decrease the amount of insulin produced. Food after being consumed will take 20 minutes to move completely through the intestine. At the end of the intestine is where hormones are produced to signal the brain that the stomach is full. Physical activity will reduce stress and stress induced eating. Through these lifestyle changes the adolescent will be decrease their risk for coronary heart disease.  Coronary Heart Disease  amillatt mdaigle -1

Resources

1.  Anatomy and Function of the Coronary Arteries. Stanford Hospital, 2014. (Accessed January 12, 2013, at http://stanfordhospital.org/healthLib/greystone/heartCenter/heartIllustrations/anatomyandFunctionoftheCoronaryArteries.html.)

2. Bibbins-Domingo K, Coxson P, Lightwood J, Goldman L. Adolescent Overweight and Future Adult Coronary Heart Disease. N Engl J Med 2007; 357:2371-2379.

3. The Complete Skinny on Obesity. Perf. Dr. Robert Lustig. YouTube. YouTube, 23 Oct. 2013. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.

4. What is Coronary Heart Disease?.National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2012. (Accessed January 12, 2013, at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cad/.)

Tags: Grand Rounds