Jun 8, 2019
6
6
Just posting to share my story although now irrelevant, I kind of need to vent.

I (a DO) applied to general surgery last year and did not match in AOA or acgme. During the soap my #1 acgme program where I interviewed offered me a preliminary spot. I took it thinking this could be a second chance to get my #1. I worked my butt off. I impressed the attendings.
During this years application cycle I applied VERY broadly. Got 11 interviews, 4 in the DO match.
At my semi annual review with the program director at my institution (large county hospital) my evaluation was excellent. As we're going over my eval i see a paper copy on his desk and written in pen at the bottom "take him". He sees me eyeing it and says "oh you weren't supposed to see that" then he tells me the recommendation by faculty was to accept me into the program. I was ecstatic. I thought I finally made it, got myself an MD res at a large trauma hospital. Fast forward a month and I have my actual interview with the faculty and it goes horrible. Basically the PD talking about how my scores suck, lack of research, etc. None of the other docs said anything. PD tears me down the entire time and says "we'll put you through our selection process and see what happens". My confidence plummets. I don't know what to make of it. Another few weeks later I get two emails from a DO program "you are ranked very highly blah blah blah" both times. I decide to talk to the PD (he was a former prelim). He tells me that as a prelim he would take the safest route possible to get a spot. I thought he was giving me good advice, like maybe he ranked me but not super high so nothing was guaranteed. So I rank that one program in the DO match and kind of hope not to match. Thinking worst case scenario is that I match there and have a spot, which is not that bad of an outcome. Although my own program was my real #1 and I know i at least had a chance (they tend to keep one prelim every other year). Well I match in DO surgery and don't think much of it. Not really happy but definitely a better outcome than not matching a second time. My program ends up matching one of the other prelims and I can't help but think it could've been me. Literally 2 days after matching I get an email from a university program "you are ranked very strongly, the faculty was impressed by your accomplishments, blah blah blah". I'm pissed, to say the least. Fast forward 3 months and I'm doing my last rotation at my prelim program. I'm operating with my favorite attending and she tells me "you know that spot was yours if you wanted it". I almost pass out in the the middle of a whipple. I'm like "what!?". She tells me that I was ranked as a top choice. "[Other prelim] had a chance but you were everybody's main guy". My jaw was on the floor.
I guess I should've had more confidence in my application, now I'm off to go to this community surgery program. Really wish the merger had happened this year.
 
Last edited:
  • Wow
Reactions: sunshinefl
Mar 28, 2018
207
357
Maybe I don't understand the match well but how would you have been worse off ranking the program you wanted #1 and the DO program #2? Wouldn't you basically default to the DO program if the MD one didn't want you, but with the added bonus of possibly getting the MD spot?
 
OP
D
Jun 8, 2019
6
6
Maybe I don't understand the match well but how would you have been worse off ranking the program you wanted #1 and the DO program #2? Wouldn't you basically default to the DO program if the MD one didn't want you, but with the added bonus of possibly getting the MD spot?
The merger happens next year. This year the DO match happened first and if you match you can't participate in the acgme match.
 

sb247

Doer of things
5+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2012
19,905
29,778
Galt's Gulch
forums.studentdoctor.net
Just posting to share my story although now irrelevant, I kind of need to vent.

I (a DO) applied to general surgery last year and did not match in AOA or acgme. During the soap one acgme program that interviewed me offered me a preliminary spot. I took it. I worked my butt off. I impressed the attendings.
During this years application cycle I applied VERY broadly. Got 11 interviews, 4 in the DO match. Now things get complicated.
At my semi annual review with the program director at my institution (large county hospital) my evaluation was excellent and he told me the recommendation by faculty was too accept me into the program. I was ecstatic. I thought I finally made it, my dream come true. I got a MD res at a large hospital. Fast forward a month and I have my actual interview with the faculty and it goes horrible. Basically the PD talking about how my scores suck, lack of research, etc. Tears me down the entire time and says "we'll put you through our selection process and see what happens". My confidence plummets. I don't know what to make of it. Another few weeks later I get two emails from a DO program "you are ranked very highly blah blah blah" both times. I decide to talk to the PD (he was a former prelim). He tells me that as a prelim he would take the safest route possible to get a spot. I thought he was giving me good advice, like maybe he ranked me but not super high. So I rank that one program in the DO match and kind of hope not to match there (I heard many bad things about the others and was not willing to rank them). Thinking worst case scenario is that I match there and never know if my home program would've kept me (they tend to keep one prelim every other year). Well I match in DO surgery and don't think much of it. Not really happy but definitely a better outcome than not matching a second time. Fast forward 3 months and I'm doing my last rotation at my prelim program. I'm operating with my favorite attending and she tells me "you know that spot was yours if you wanted it". I almost pass out in the the middle of a whipple. I'm like "what!?". She tells me that I was ranked as a top choice. My jaw is on the floor.
I guess I should've had more self confidence, now I'm off to go to this community surgery program. Really wish the merger had happened this year.
You did the right thing
 

UnoMas

ASA Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2014
420
1,037
Status
Resident [Any Field]
You did the right thing. Your PD and prelim program sound flaky AF to me and as a reapplicant, 1 bird in hand> 2 in the bush. I would not take their words for it unless the PD called me into the office with a contract with my name on it.

Put this behind ya, you are going to be a surgeon! Congrats!
 

SLC

A Punk rock Country doc
7+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2010
3,664
3,671
The Empire
Status
Attending Physician
Sucks but your current program F’d up and lost you. You gotta play it safe in this process; you did, and you’ll finish a surgery residency now.

You made the hard (but correct) call.
 
Jan 22, 2019
456
411
Status
Resident [Any Field]
As a rule, one should not believe what PDs say unless they have in writing.
 

evilbooyaa

Staff member
Moderator
7+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2011
5,254
3,938
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Dude(tte) you got a categorical spot in surgery. The fact that your current program was playing games with you without putting a contract in your hand for your signature prior finalization of the lists for the DO match means you made the right choice, 100% of the time.
 
OP
D
Jun 8, 2019
6
6
The title of this thread should be “lost a categorical spot I may have had but probably didn’t and still get to be a surgeon despite taking the prelim route so give me a high five”
On my last day of work two other attendings also told me I was ranked at the top. The spot was mine until I threw it away.
 

gutonc

No Meat, No Treat
Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Mar 6, 2005
18,129
10,984
Status
Attending Physician
On my last day of work two other attendings also told me I was ranked at the top. The spot was mine until I threw it away.
Did they show you a printed copy of their finalized rank list?
 

rokshana

Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 20, 2004
3,558
3,406
Status
Attending Physician
On my last day of work two other attendings also told me I was ranked at the top. The spot was mine until I threw it away.
They screwed with you...they are telling you all of this AFTER THE FACT...where were they BEFORE The DO match?? Sounds like you would have chanced the MD match of someone had said something to you...may not seem like it now, but you are better off.
 
OP
D
Jun 8, 2019
6
6
They screwed with you...they are telling you all of this AFTER THE FACT...where were they BEFORE The DO match?? Sounds like you would have chanced the MD match of someone had said something to you...may not seem like it now, but you are better off.
I actually was planning to chance the MD match until I got that first email from the DO program
 

hallowmann

Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2012
5,422
4,930
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I actually was planning to chance the MD match until I got that first email from the DO program
They're lying to you, or at least exaggerating. Don't worry about it. You made the right decision. If they really wanted you that badly, they would have told you before the match. The fact that you're only hearing about it now is just them trying to seem like the "good guys" at no risk to them. Its like offering to help someone move the day after they moved, "oh, we would have loved to help you move if you had only asked us."
 

ortnakas

DO PGY-1
5+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2013
3,004
4,294
Status
Resident [Any Field]
There is literally no way of knowing if this story is
A) the tragic tale of OP playing it safe and missing out on the program of his/her dreams
B) the successful saga of OP playing it safe and getting into the specialty of his/her dreams (and avoiding the catastrophe of being misled and not ending up in a program at all)

Maybe it’s A. More likely it’s B. Program directors lie, people are nice to you post-match (what else are they gonna say while they’re working with you still) and attendings may not have as much pull with admin/recruitment/selection as it seems.

Regardless, it’s behind you, and you’re going to be a surgeon in 5 years. Go hang out with your new co-interns and seize the day.
 

DarkHorizon

10+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2008
553
389
Status
Attending Physician
You can ask them to give you a contract now. They can certainly do it if they feel like they missed out. You’ll have your answer then.
 

aProgDirector

Pastafarians Unite!
Moderator
10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2006
8,180
6,819
Status
Attending Physician
There's a reasonable chance that the PD didn't really want you and you were ranked low on the list, match day comes around and you don't match there, other faculty say "how come DAlright didn't match here, we really liked him/her?", PD says "Well, he/she was ranked at the top of our list but decided to match elsewhere", faculty tell you that you were at the top of the list. The PD needs to continue working with these faculty, they do not need to work with you any more.
 

FaytlND

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2004
968
503
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
There's a reasonable chance that the PD didn't really want you and you were ranked low on the list, match day comes around and you don't match there, other faculty say "how come DAlright didn't match here, we really liked him/her?", PD says "Well, he/she was ranked at the top of our list but decided to match elsewhere", faculty tell you that you were at the top of the list. The PD needs to continue working with these faculty, they do not need to work with you any more.

This. Those at the rank meeting discuss and set the "final" list. Then there is always some final tinkering by the PD/chair. Very possible that the other faculty saw the list with him at the top, only to have it change before truly finalized. OP made the right move.