Thursday, October 11, 2018

UPMC Children's and AAPA Conference


I finished my rotation at UPMC Children’s recently.  Everyone in the class either gets to have 3 or 4 weeks.  Here, we get to see a few specimens you wouldn’t anywhere else because they specialize in pediatrics.  For example, I grossed a heart transplant case from a teenager for dilated cardiomyopathy. We also get the traditional routine cases, and because they do pediatric surgeries, this means a lot of appendixes.  I also got the opportunity to observe 3 pediatric autopsies which was really cool because they are a little different from adult cases due to the size and the cause of death is normally different than the typical adult hospital cases.  During my rotation, they hosted a lecture and lab for the medical students where they identified different congenital heart defects on actual specimens so that was another really neat thing to see.  We learn about the congenital heart defects in class, but it is pretty cool to hold the example in your hand and see it.

Myself and my classmate Jessica attended the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants conference in New Orleans the last week of September.  We were selected as the class delegates for the WVU program.  This means we are given small tasks from AAPA during the year (nothing crazy), and we are tasked with writing a manuscript for publication and presenting a poster during the conference.  We have not heard if our manuscripts were chosen to be published, but we did present our posters at the conference. AAPA uses the poster presentation to provide continuing education credits for its members because there are quiz questions on each of the posters for them to answer.  Attending the conference is pretty neat!  We got to meet delegates from the other programs, meet PA’s from across the country, and attend the lectures which were all pretty interesting.  We mixed a little bit of play into our trip and did some sight-seeing during the evening and ate a lot of great food! We had a really good time and it was an awesome experience.  If any future students are reading this, I highly recommend trying to become the student delegate.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

5th Rotation, Week 5- UPMC Shadyside


I have finished week 5 at UPMC Shadyside and I have loved it here! They are a genitourinary and a bone/soft tissue specialty hospital.  There are two PA’s at this facility. One grosses all day and is available to answer questions from the student and residents, and the other PA is on frozen section service so what they get done during the day varies depending on the surgery schedule. 

I have grossed a lot of “firsts” here!  I got to gross a leg amputation for a giant cell tumor, a portion of femur for osteosarcoma, a few soft tissue sarcomas, a testicle for tumor, a bunch of kidneys, and a ton of bladders! For a while, all the bladder specimens consisted of cystoprostatectomies from a male where they take the bladder and the prostate in one specimen so I have gotten really good at those, but this week I got two cystohysterectomies!  Both of these specimens consisted of the bladder, uterus, bilateral fallopian tubes and ovaries, and a portion of anterior vaginal wall!  I was pretty excited to get that specimen under my belt as well!  The genitourinary specimens get triaged and fixed overnight.  For kidneys and testicles, that means we bivalve them and place them back in formalin.  For bladders, we measure, ink, open, probe the ureters, and pin out the specimen on a cork board.  Here at Shadyside, we get a lot of experience grossing and triaging which is a good skill to have!

I can’t believe it is getting closer to graduation already!  My classmates and I have been having job interviews by phone and onsite! I know of at least one person who has even accepted a job offer which is super exciting!  It’s that time of year so more exciting things are going to keep on happening!  Keep us in your thoughts as big decisions are being made!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

4th Rotation, Week 7-Pittsburgh,PA


I have finished my last week at UPMC Presbyterian-Autopsy.  Each student gets 11 weeks total of autopsy experience during their clinical year. Half of the class gets all 11 weeks at Ruby which is WVU’s hospital and the other half gets 7 weeks at Presby and 4 weeks at Ruby. The main difference between the two locations is that Ruby’s pathologists on autopsy service is also a Medical Examiner which means he can perform medicolegal autopsies and collect forensic evidence. 

 As Pathologists’ Assistants we are able to perform autopsies from start to finish.  During these rotations, we learn evisceration, which is the removal of the organs from the body, prosection, which is the examination of the organs after they are removed from the body, and how to write the reports which explain the findings.  There are many different ways to eviscerate.  Some hospitals remove them organ by organ, some do them by functional block (thoracic, abdominal, pelvic), and some remove them all at once still attached.  There are names for each of these methods which I won't bore you with, but at Presby, we removed the organs all at once still attached, except for the pelvic block which we removed separately.

In hospital autopsies, the next of kin must authorize the autopsy or else it cannot be done. On the authorization form they can select which type they want performed which can be a brain only, chest only (heart and lungs), or full (with or without removal of brain).  During my rotation, I participated in 17 autopsies and they consisted of at least one from each type.  At Presby, there is a pathologist on autopsy service, a pathology resident, a PA student (me), and a morgue technician in the room during each case.  We assist in the entire process from start to finish and I really felt like I learned a lot.  Some of my classmates performed the entire autopsy by themselves when they were super busy, but there wasn’t need during my rotation because we were a little slower than normal.  Everyone there is super nice and more than happy to teach you! I’m going to miss it there a lot!

From here, I am headed to UPMC Shadyside!  They are a bone/soft tissue and genitourinary specialty center so I am excited about the type of specimens I will get to gross and I’m happy to get back to surgical pathology in general…I’ve missed grossing!