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diabetic surgeons

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biophysicianai

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Hey All,

I'm a pre-med who is very interested in surgery. I know that only a small portion of the interested end up pursuing the profession on account of its lifestyle, but assume for the sake of this post that the draining work schedule will not change my mind. Can I, as a type 1 diabetic, survive a surgical residency / work as a surgeon?

I ask because diabetes takes time to manage. It's not a huge demand, being only 5 minutes a couple of times a day, but it is a demand nevertheless. Could this kind of issue hinder my performance? What about low / high blood sugar? Would the possibility of either of them occurring whenever they please - that is to say, regardless of whether I'm in the OR or not - be too problematic for me to pursue surgery?
 

Samoa

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One of my classmates had type 1 diabetes, and matched into ENT without any problems. She used an insulin pump, never had any issues with it that interfered with school, and the issue never came up on the trail.

ENT does happen to be one of the more manageable surgical fields, so I doubt she'll run into any problems after intern year.

A fellow intern of mine was also diabetic, also used an insulin pump, and never had any serious issues. She just always kept snacks handy when she wasn't in the OR. The only reason I even knew was because we had the same call schedule.
 
N

njbmd

Hey All,

I'm a pre-med who is very interested in surgery. I know that only a small portion of the interested end up pursuing the profession on account of its lifestyle, but assume for the sake of this post that the draining work schedule will not change my mind. Can I, as a type 1 diabetic, survive a surgical residency / work as a surgeon?

I ask because diabetes takes time to manage. It's not a huge demand, being only 5 minutes a couple of times a day, but it is a demand nevertheless. Could this kind of issue hinder my performance? What about low / high blood sugar? Would the possibility of either of them occurring whenever they please - that is to say, regardless of whether I'm in the OR or not - be too problematic for me to pursue surgery?

I have a couple of general surgery colleagues who are Type 1 diabetics. They are able to manage their practice just fine and were able to get through residency. Your "jump off" point will be how you manage medical school and what adjustments you might have to make for residency. Any residency is going to be an adjustment. When you get a little further along in the process, you can see what you are able to tolerate and have a better idea of how to make this decision as for my two colleagues, it was a non-issue.
 

tussy

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There was a resident in my year that was a type 1 diabetic and he had no problems. He switched to an insulin pump half way thru residency and found it was easier to manage that way. He's now an attending trauma/icu in a very busy hospital and is still doing great.
 

Apollyon

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There are two Type I diabetics in the GS group that covers our community hospitals - one guy was dx'd as a 3rd year med student, and the other is nearing the end of his career.

The first guy uses an insulin pump, and the second only takes night/weekend call (no office time) and goes with subQ injections. They both do exceedingly well.
 

PeepshowJohnny

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There are two Type I diabetics in the GS group that covers our community hospitals - one guy was dx'd as a 3rd year med student...

Please tell me he diagnosed himself :)

Other side of the coin, I know an internal medicine attending who was interested in surgery as med school a couple of decades ago but didn't go into the field because he thought it would be too tough to manage with his diabetes. He's happy in what he does, but says now with stuff like Lantus and pumps he doesn't think diabetes would be a factor in his decision.
 

Winged Scapula

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Agree with the comments above.

I've had a couple of colleagues who were IDDMs and used a pump successfully through surgery residency.
 
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