Pathology hypothetical

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by danjou, Feb 10, 2002.

  1. danjou

    danjou Member

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    Pathology Residency hypothetical:

    Say some overly-ambitious danjou is hankerin' for an MD and a JD (just small part of grand master plan). Say she's planning on skipping the overly ambitious six-year JD/MD programs offered at the likes of Yale, Duke, UPenn etc. and instead feels she would rather attend law school part-time while doing her residency in pathology. She bases this on the oft-said rumor that path has a pretty easy-going residency, hours-wise (though the interest in pathology is geniune, not just for the hours). For those path. residents out there, please assess how realistic danjou is being, as far as the hours and lifestle during pathology residency.
     
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  3. Magree

    Magree Senior Member

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    Hi:

    I am not a path resident but did some rotations in it and will probably be applying. I think part time law school would have its best chance of working with CP. AP is much more unpredictable in its hours and call requirements (i.e. needing to be in the hospital to do frozen sections and not just handling questions from home). Are you wanting to do a Dr. Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwells's pathologist protagonist) type thing? If so then you'd need to do AP - perhaps doing 2 years of CP, taking a year to finish your JD and then starting AP? I'm not sure of the time requirements or class times (I assume classes are at night) but you may need to have support/permission from your PD to do this. Might not be a bad idea to ask some path PDs what they would think "hypothetially" of course <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> . Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    M-
     
  4. danjou

    danjou Member

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    Okay, fine... I will admit that Kay Scarpetta did have something to do with it (though it sounds as juvenile as going into archaeology b/c Indiana Jones was a cool dude), but so did Henry Lee and Michael Baden(sp?), as well as the forensic experts I worked with during trials (I work in corp. litigation right now). My interest lies in forensic science and medicine - the application of those to law (NOT in malpractice or public health admin, which seems to ALWAYS crop up when I talk about JD/MD).

    When I finally figured out exactly how I can combine both law and medicine in a way that would interest me (trust me, it took me years!), I realized I'd have to concentrate in medicine first, despite the fact that I'm 90% done with law school apps (LSAT, recommendations, transcripts, etc). So yes, I have to start ALL OVER AGAIN :( , retaking my premed reqs (cuz my undergrad classes are too OLD for med school apps!), studying for the MCAT, finding people willing to recommend me for this crazy path I'm taking.... but that's okay, because I like where I'm going. :D

    But I was looking into doing an A/C pathology residency, plus that year fellowship in forensic pathology. Figured I would try to squeeze in law school there somewhere, and wanted to make sure I'm not stepping from overly-ambitous to impossible.
     
  5. Magree

    Magree Senior Member

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    Hi:

    I think your plan sounds fine - not overly ambitious at all. The first thing you learn in medicine is: life is short. Do what you love - that's all that's important. I think doing medicine first is a good plan - you may find that after a forensic fellowship that there is enough with court appearances etc. - that a JD isn't necessary - or you may be even more interested in some specialty of law. The future will tell. Good luck!

    PS - I think Patricia Cornwell has inspired MANY people into the forensic sciences :) .

    Cheers,

    M-
     
  6. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer

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    Residency and part-time law at the same time, not likely. Though path is not as crazy as some residency positions, you should still expect to work 50-70+ hours a week depending on the rotation. Not to mention you are expected to study pathology outside of the normal work day. And, this is enforced by having "unknowns" which you have to figure out and be able to talk about usually once or twice a week. Also, since you want to do forensics you must do the AP part of path which is more consuming than the CP part. And, with the time being shortened for path residency the workload is likely to increase. And, my program is not overly taxing compared to others as a matter of fact I would say it is one of the most lifestyle friendly ones I know of. Also, call is not to bad and usually from home, but can be bad in spurts. For example when on autopsy call spending all weekend doing autopsies when you though you were going to study (i know this from exp.) Path residents also usually teach med students at times during the year, that takes more time than you would expect to be ready. Also, I have to give about 10 lectures to the other residents and staff at various times during the year.

    Then there is the problem of the program will likely not allow you to do it. You have to have permission from the residency directory for something like that.

    I am not saying it is imposible but would be very very very hard to do.

    If you are interested in forensics there is no real need to go to law school. But, if that is what you are set on I would suggest doing them seperately.

    Med shool 4 years, AP residency 3 years, Forensic fellowship 1 year, Law school ?(got me)

    Sorry if I sounded to negative but you need to know what you would be trying to overcome. Path residency is not as exhausting as most other residencies, but very time consuming.
     
  7. danjou

    danjou Member

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    Don't worry about the 'negativity', G.P. - the degree of realism is what I was looking for, and from the genuine article, no less!

    I just want to make sure I will be giving my best to whatever I'm studying/training for, and if it's going to be that much of a crunch as it sounds, I'd be better off waiting on the law degree. I just wasn't sure what else was involved in the residency besides the clocking in/out times (knew it sounded too good to be true!).

    There are many paths between A and B, from the foot of Mt. Everest to the top - sometimes it's a relief to eliminate one or two!

    Thanks for the input..........
     
  8. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member

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    Perhaps I can lend some help here. Although I don't know the difference between Pathology and Proctology (well, ok I do) I went to law school. Two issues.

    First, if you go to the right law school you can get away with not going to class. Many of my classmates never went after first year. The problem is that the volume of stuff you have to know is quite large and if you get behind in reading you are toast. If your school does not require you to go to class, you may be able to learn the law from review books. Beware, however that some professors will ask you thinking questions rather than fact questions so not attending class could be a big problem. If you intend on keeping up with you reading know that you could have over 500 pages per week; and reading law stuff is like reading the back of a paint can sometimes.

    Second, I'm not sure what the JD adds to your value as a pathologist. The skills that you will learn in law school will not help you very much for forensic pathology. They do not teach you how to do investigations or how to testify. They teach you about contracts, civil procedure, tax, property and a TINY amount of criminal law. The stuff that makes prosecuters effective they learn once they leave law school. By and large, pathologist send reports to the lawyers and they prepare their cases independantly of the Docs. That being said, there are always exceptions and I think the JD degree may help you get your foot in the door somewhere at a Medical Examiner's office.

    Good luck and think of one last thing. Medical School Debt + Law School Debt + Forensic Pathologist Salary from Government Agency = Debt Repayment Problems.

    Ed
     
  9. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer

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    Don't worry much about getting a foot in a forensic path job. You will not have a problem. Jobs and fellowship positions are not hard to come by. Most pathologists dislike autopsies and would never consider working for the government. The salary difference is very large so most people shy away from forensics.

    Even the fellowship here in Richmond, Va with the famous "kay scarpetta" :) has had trouble finding people to fill. Not to mention they have awesome facilities.
     
  10. danjou

    danjou Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by GreatPumpkin:
    <strong>Don't worry much about getting a foot in a forensic path job. You will not have a problem. Jobs and fellowship positions are not hard to come by. Most pathologists dislike autopsies and would never consider working for the government. The salary difference is very large so most people shy away from forensics.

    Even the fellowship here in Richmond, Va with the famous "kay scarpetta" :) has had trouble finding people to fill. Not to mention they have awesome facilities.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">They have trouble finding people?? REALLY???? I find that shocking, because forensics is so fascinating! Or maybe I'm just a geek, who knows.

    But I'm not doing this for the money (been there, done that) nor am I doing medicine to help people (just a selfish bastard, I guess) - I'm doing it mainly because it's just damned interesting.

    But, well, as for future projections, do you think the popularity of forensics in currenty tv (XFiles, CSI, Crossing Jordan) would change that? I went to a nearby college that's known for its forensic/criminal justice program and I was told that the enrollment has increased lately b/c of those shows. Yes, I know forensic science itself is different from forensic pathology. But still, hmmm...

    I suppose I can understand that government issue, but why don't pathologist like to do autopsies?
     
  11. danjou

    danjou Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by edmadison:
    <strong>
    I'm not sure what the JD adds to your value as a pathologist.

    Good luck and think of one last thing. Medical School Debt + Law School Debt + Forensic Pathologist Salary from Government Agency = Debt Repayment Problems.

    Ed</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">First point: I know the JD is not REQUIRED for forensic pathology, and I can sit back quite nicely doing forensic path with an MD tucked in my back pocket. My overall desire is the application of science to law. So I've pondered the Master's in forensic science, PhD in forensic science (almost nonexistent in the US), and MD to forensic pathology. I'm interested not just in a job in that field, but also the development of the field - especially in light of the advances in medical technology and popularity of forensics (thanks, OJ). I really really want to do both law school and med school, but the MD route is just more practical than the JD, for if I end up not in that field, I'd be quite happy to be just a doctor, as opposed to being just a lawyer. That's why I'm doing it first.

    Second point re money: I know that quite well. It's why I haven't followed through with my law school apps, for I couldn't justify gaining $100K in debt for law school unless I had a real reason to use it. I'm also looking at the cheapest med schools I can find, and luckily NY state has some descent med schools with rather low tuition.
     
  12. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer

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    There has been more interest in forensics this year during interviews, but nothing outrageous. I just don't see it getting competitive even if more people decide to go into it.

    Path docs in private practice don't like autopsies generally don't like autopsies because it cuts into there regular money making work. Most are done with little or no compensation as a courtesy to the hospital. Others don't like it because many times it is being done for stupid reasons with no real question of the cause of death. Others dislike it due to the large amounts of paperwork envolved. Others just because it is a messy and many times a SMELLY job. There are many reasons and lucky for the people who don't like it in private practice they will not have to do many. During residency you are required to do at least 50. I personally am enjoying my autopsy rotation. But, wouldn't want to do forensics for a living largely because I would not want to work for the government. Red tape, lots of call, poor pay and too many bosses. But, it is for sure one of the most interesting careers out there.
     

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