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Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Doctors give MCYL students a peek inside the world of medicine

Juniors from high schools all over Marshall County were treated to a glimpse into a doctor’s world as they toured a local hospital and chatted with physicians.

Wednesday was Healthcare and Social Services Day for Marshall County Youth Leadership, where students get to explore the business world around them. The 36 students from eight high schools in the county toured Marshall South in the morning and spent the afternoon touring Hospice of Marshall County.

MCYL is a cooperative effort between Marshall Medical Centers, Citizens Bank & Trust, Snead State Community College and the Marshall County Leadership Challenge Alumni Association.

At the hospital, doctors shared some funny experiences and practical advice with teens.

Dr. Kathleen Evans is one of three cardiologists at Marshall South. She said she loves working with cardiac patients but she didn’t know that in college, where she changed her focus three times.

“Choose something you are interested in,” she advised students. “If you don’t, you’ll be lost.”

Rather than a traditional medical doctor, Evans is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, which takes a more holistic approach to healing. She worked in cardiac rehab in college, where she helped heart patients get back on their feet and to learn a healthier lifestyle.

“I wanted to see that in my patients,” she said. “I wanted to teach them how to lead a healthy life. It’s hard. You have to really work on it.”

Evans urged students to get as much experience in high school and college as possible with internships and volunteer work, which pays off when applying for highly competitive slots.

“I’m the first person in my family to go to college, much less medical school,” she said. “My parents didn’t know anybody. I had to put myself out there.”

Dr. Andrew Vann proved to students that being a doctor of emergency medicine is never boring. He described a young patient who came in to the ER at Marshall South complaining that her tongue ring had become lodged inside her tongue. An x-ray showed it had moved deep inside near the back of her tongue, where it had to be painfully removed.

Another patient came in with a catfish head attached to his arm. The fisherman was trying to clean a catfish that wasn’t quite dead. It got two barbs into his fingers, forcing him to cut off the head in order to get to the hospital. Vann said he used a bone saw to remove the head and then push the barbs the rest of the way through the fingers.

“I like that part,” he said. “We’re solving puzzles. We have to think. I don’t get tired of coming to work. It’s not the same thing over and over. It’s what I love about the ER. I think it’s the perfect job for me.”

Vann advised the students to find something they love to do and then develop good habits in order to accomplish it.

“To be a doctor, you have to want to help patients,” he said. “If you’re doing it for the money or for the prestige, it gets old.”