AMSA On Call
  • Patient safety within the hospital setting

    by Shiva Kolangara

    Thinking about medical error and patient safety within the hospital setting

    Medical errors are considered the 8th leading cause of death in 1997. Total cost of preventable adverse events was $20 billion. It has been reported that 2.9-3.7 percent of all hospitalized patient experiences adverse events within the hospital setting. About 6.6-13.6 percent of these adverse events lead to death and 50 percent of these adverse events were avoidable. Adverse events do not just include the rare cases of amputating the wrong leg or removing the wrong side of the brain or leaving a surgical instrument behind inside a patient, but also more common occurrences like giving the wrong dosage of medicine, or not properly sanitizing a blood-line properly. On average, there are about 44,000-98,000 deaths per year due to adverse events within the hospital setting in the U.S. In the news, we always here about the big stories of how a jetliner crashed, killing many people, but these are rare occurrences compared to adverse events within the hospital. Annual deaths from adverse events are equivalent to 1.5 jumbo jets crashing everyday. It has been shown that the rate of adverse events and the probability of death ...

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  • Why You Should Attend the Kaplan Medical School Insider Event

    by Owen Farcy

    Join us on Monday, May 4th at 8PM ET for this year’s Medical School Insider event.

    Five years ago, we premiered Kaplan’s Medical School Insider (MSI) event with one goal in mind—to connect students directly with deans of admissions and true experts on the medical school application process so that the questions that matter can be answered by those with the most experience.

    In the years since that first event, we’ve seen MSI grow in both size and scope. Each year more and more students tune in to learn about the latest trends in medical school admissions. The discussion gives them a chance to peer behind the curtain to hear what admissions committees really think about their applications. The internet is overflowing with opinions and advice about how to build your medical school application to increase your chances of acceptance, but ultimately the only opinions that matter are those of the admissions committees making the decision.

    This year’s MSI will happen on Monday, May 4, 2015 from 8:00-9:30PM ET.

    It promises to be a hallmark event, as the 2015 application cycle is fraught with more unknown factors than in years past due to the introduction of the new MCAT 2015 ...

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  • The Importance of Health to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

    By: Anna Zelivianskaia
    M.D. Candidate 2016 - University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine

    “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

    –Martin Luther King Jr.


    Health care is not listed as a basic human right in most constitutions, including our own. Yet I suspect the majority of citizens of any country would agree with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement. Most people rightly believe that access to health care is implied in the social contract. It certainly is for citizens who live in countries with single-payer medical systems. However, why is healthcare an implied human right? Besides the intuitive feeling that as a future physician, I should care for anyone who walks through my doors, I could not explain why healthcare is so transparently intertwined with justice and citizenship.

    In a broad sense, what are the basic human rights? The knee-jerk answer from the American experience is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Bill of Rights reflects these principles: freedom of speech and the right to bear arms fall under the “liberty” category; fear from excessive bail and unusual punishment allow for the pursuit of happiness. Yet, as ...

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  • The Challenges of an Out-of-State Medical School

    by Emily Hause


    Usually when I ask students where they would like to go to medical school, the answer is- wherever I get accepted. Now, while that’s a great attitude, the truth is that an out-of-state medical school can be extra tricky. Medical school is difficult to begin with, but being far away from your friends, family and support system is just one of many additional challenges.


    Challenge 1: Most of your classmates will have a support system nearby

    This was especially evident in my class (where over 2/3 of my classmates are in-state) after our last exam. It was a Friday exam and it was a fairly exhausting run up to the exam itself, which meant that by the time we took the test, everyone was dead tired.

    When I talked to my classmates about what they were doing after the test, almost everyone was going to have dinner with their parents or spend the night with their non-med-school friends. We had all spent a plethora of hours together and my classmates were ready to blow off steam with people who they hadn’t seen every day.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of recharging by hanging out with people ...

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  • Building, Maintaining, and Using Your Network

    Petros Minasi, Jr.

    At the end of this month, AMSA will once again host its annual national convention, this year in Washington, D.C.. The convention presents a great opportunity for pre-medical and medical students, deans and program directors, and health care leaders to come together and share ideas, thoughts, and discuss the future of medicine. 

    Attending conferences with your peers and future peers is one of the best things you can do to build you current and future network. Your network is an invaluable resource that is often overlooked by pre-meds. But perhaps overlooked is the wrong way to put it - the reality is we know we should have networks, but we don't always know how to properly build them and use them. Fundamentally, your network, like your friends, should have variety, because there are going to be different instances in your life where you will need the help and advice of people with different skill sets. Much how medical schools want academic and intellectual diversity in their incoming classes, you should want the same in your network. 

    Now building your network is sometimes a little hard, especially if you are "networking" just for the sake of networking. Oddly, ...

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