Today was the first day of my Princeternship at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) shadowing Dr. Howard Snyder III, MD, an attending urologist and professor of Urology in Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Once the other Princetern and I had arrived, Sharon Brown, who works for the Division of Urology, showed us around the clinic and introduced us to Dr. Howard Snyder ’65. Dr. Snyder taught us about the surgical techniques used in hypospadias repairs and soon after we had the chance to watch the procedure close-up in the operating room. I had never before had the chance to observe surgery and it brought to life so much that I had read in books.
Later that day, Dr. Snyder took us to the Mütter Museum, where he is on the board of trustees of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The museum is filled with some of the most fascinating medical abnormalities such as the skeleton of one of the world’s tallest people and the body of the soap woman. I definitely hope to return to the museum in the future and I am looking forward to starting again early tomorrow!
Today we shadowed Dr. Snyder in the clinic, where we saw a variety of pediatric urologic conditions, such as UTIs and kidney infections. Dr. Snyder developed a unique treatment plan for each of his patients, carefully explaining the medical details to his young patients and their parents. Dr. Snyder recommended biofeedback techniques to several of his patients, in order to offer useful solutions without immediately turning to medication. Between patients, we learned all about Dr. Snyder’s involvement in health policy and his experiences as both a general surgeon and pediatric urologist.
Today was the last day of the Princeternship and we observed a pyeloplasty performed laparoscopically. Once the camera was inserted, one of the residents explained each step of the procedure, which we could follow on a large screen. It was fascinating to me that such a major repair could be performed through such a small incision, minimizing the patient’s recovery time. Although the surgery was several hours long, the time seemed to fly by.
After the surgery, we sat in on a conference in which the residents presented their most challenging cases. After each presentation, they discussed the risks and benefits of different possible approaches in order to determine the best treatment plan. It was a great experience for us to learn not only about standard treatments in the field, but also some of the more cutting-edge approaches. Overall, the experience was definitely unique in the way it combined exposure to the clinic, the operating room, and health policy, all within the context of a teaching hospital. These three days have gone by so quickly, but I am grateful to have had this opportunity.