This article is based on an e-mail to Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald from Dr. Jeff Brown, Biology 1997.
Hey good to hear from you. I am glad you are teaching still at CBU. The students value greatly from your presence. I have been to the campus there to take my little ones for trick or treat, so I have seen some of the new buildings and so forth – really nice. It seems like yesterday that I was in lab there with you but in fact, it has been 16 years!! Time flys – truly. You know I never got accepted to UT. I ended up going to D.O. school in Kansas City. I excelled there graduating in the top 10% of the class. I felt a bit cheated that I did not get into UT. That actually turned into a good thing – I am very competitive and hate to lose. Lack of acceptance to MD school made me try even harder. I scored in the 99th percentile on USMLE step 1 and 95th for Step 2. I was made chief resident during my Anesthesia residency and got all kinds of great experience. I went right to work at UAB doing general Anesthesia and then did a fellowship in Cardiac Anesthesia and TEE. After several years there, I moved back to Memphis.
I said all this to point out that if someone REALLY wants to be a Doctor, then D.O. school is a good option. I have NEVER had any trouble with credentialing, getting a job, pay or anyone questioning my skill/training. Having said that—I would not encourage anyone to go into medicine now. Things have changed so much since I started – declining reimbursement, sicker patients, greater government control-etc. The hours are hard and long. They do not stop when you get out in practice. 60-80 hour work weeks are the norm. BUT I am very happy. I have great job satisfaction. I am the only Doctor in my practice able to do Transesophageal Echocardiography. Because of my background I am part of a select team that does a procedure called TAVR, transaortic valve replacement. We replace people’s stenotic aortic valves percutaneously, through the femoral artery. With the TEE I guide the valve to proper position. We were the first team in TN to do this. We were selected last year as “Healthcare Heros” and honored from great medical innovation by the Memphis Business Journal.
I married Debbie Conti (I doubt you would know her since she was not a sciences major) We have two sons, Parker and Connor. Overall, I have been very successful – but it has been more work than I could have imagined. I thank you very much for all the help you gave me while I was at CBU. You were a great mentor and friend to me. I wish you all the best.