pathman1

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Oct 4, 2004
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Hello, i am a 3rd yr medical student trying to decide between path and anesthesia. I have pretty much completed my rotations and am basing my decision through a process of elimination. I have boiled it down to anesthesia or path, since i am looking for a good lifestyle field, w/good hours (money is not very important to me). I was wondering if anyone knew which field (anesthesia or path) carries more liability? Which is more stressful? I know anesthesiologists make more money (but again this not extremely important to me). If you mess up in anesthesia--does that mean you're branded by the surgreons as a poor anesthesiologist and they may chose not to work with you? I know the fields are on opposite sides of the spectrum but just curious if anyone had any feedback.
 

palabra

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Just look at your username. I don't think you even need to ask the question.

Enjoy the specimens.
 

DenRock

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Sounds like you would be more interested in path. The lifestyle is arguably one of the best. I know based on my wife's experience so far - she is a first year path resident. No in-house call EVER. Normal weekday hours are like 8-5. The two specialties, one might argue, have the same level of stress. The physician in each makes critical life-or-death decisions, and is part of a team. I believe the anesthesiologist faces more liability.

I chose anesthesia because I hated looking into a microscope, and thought pathology was boring as a student. I like the action involved in anesthesia without having to live like a surgeon. I hope you are posting the same inquiries on the path board.
 

hilly1978

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Sep 25, 2004
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I am a 4th year and did consider both specialties at one time. I found the big difference between the two to be that in anesthesia you are forced to make life and death decisions right now. If you are a pathologist and you have a tough specimen you are reviewing, it is OK to not be certain of the diagnosis, you have collegues who you can consult and you have textbooks which you can review. As an anesthesiologist, you certainly have collegues to consult, but you may not have time to consult a book and still best serve your patient, you have decide right now. Clearly, there are times as a Pathologist you are under pressure (frozen section, etc.), but I am trying to make generalizations.

Certainly there are other differences, between the fields; I however find there to be many similarities as well. Both require a bredth of knowledge, both are hidden specialties, since few people enter medical school planning to become either one. Both enjoy very structured, reasonable amounts of time outside of the hospital during residency. Both specialties are in my opinion often underappreciated for the roles they play in the healthcare team. Both provide plenty of intellectual stimulation.

In the end, I chose anesthesia because I enjoyed interacting with patients and liked the pressure of needing to decide what to do right now on a regular basis. Those are my 2 cents, for what it is worth.

Feel free to PM me, I have had what I consider to be a pretty good feel for both fields from previous experiences.