Princeternship Stories: Andy Zheng ’20, Eastern Virginia Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters

I had the opportunity to intern at the Children’s Hospital for the King’s Daughters. I took a day of rest before I started my internship during intersession. After arriving at the hospital, I was introduced to everything that I needed to know. The same thing that every hospital intern should be aware, such as I cannot disclose patient information and what happens in the hospital stays in the hospital.

I interned with a pathologist for my internship, and the experience differed from other clinical shadowing experiences. There was no patient interaction. I learned about specific cases, but there wasn’t a face attached to them. Each day I would go into the office and start examining specimen from patients’ biopsies. Most of the specimens were from the gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Werner looked for what the physician suspected, ranging from acid imbalance to inflammations and ulcers.

Interestingly, there were many instances where Dr. Werner saw something different from the physical symptoms that the physician noted. These type of cases were brought to either a microbiologist or a psychiatrist. For example, one patient was said to be on morphine derivatives because of her severe stomach pains. However, the biopsy showed only acute inflammation of her GI tract. This caused suspicion as to whether Dr. Werner is simply not picking up on certain pathologies or the pain resulted from psychological roots. When asked my opinion, I suggested the latter because through looking at the other cases, all of the symptoms somewhat correlate to some pathology. However, the many biopsies taken at different sites for this patient proved to contradict the symptoms. Because of the severity of the symptoms, more tests are being done to look for likely causes of her pain.

This experience once again reinforced the connectedness of different branches of medicine. Even though Dr. Werner does not see patients directly, she still fits into the healthcare system as an important “detector” of sources of patients’ pain. Every branch of medicine must function for the whole healthcare system to work efficiently.