Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So, here we go! My first blog post ever. Big, deep breath. I feel like I'm on a first date or a job interview. At least when I'm writing, you can't hear the nervous wobble I get in my voice or see my kneecaps quiver (I didn't know that was anatomically possible until I gave my first presentation at a conference).

Let me give you a little background into my life. I am currently working in Truth or Consequences, NM, as the first and only pediatrician they've ever had in the county. And yes, it really is called that, although locals just call it TorC. It was named after a gameshow in the 50s hosted by Ralph Edwards - the producers put out a challenge to the country that they will film an episode in any town that is willing to change their name to Truth or Consequences, so Hot Springs jumped at the chance. Needless to say, we have a lot of people drive through town just to say they've been here. We also have a large psychiatric population, with some patients telling me they settled here because, "it was time to accept the truth or face the consequences." When I hear this, I think it might be time to go back to the old name. Check out the town website:

Anyway, I digress. I came here because I am a National Health Service Corps scholar, and I had limited job options due to their restrictions. This area qualifies as severely underserved. As such, I have had an amazing, interesting, and at times, quite frustrating experience here. I trained at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, a lovely hospital with lots of pediatricians, all types of specialists, and an incredible staff trained in pediatrics. Then I came here, the only pediatrician for miles and miles, with the nearest pediatric specialists being 150 miles north in Albuquerque, and some specialists 75 miles south in Las Cruces. It's been baptism by fire. Thank goodness for the PALS line at UNM, the internet, and my sister who is a pediatric intensivist at Oakland Children's and who has answered a few desperate phone calls with questions on sick kids!

That's my introduction. I have lots more to say, but I suppose I shall do this in installments, like Hemingway did with his novels in Esquire magazine, not that I am even remotely comparing myself to Papa, ever.

Looking forward to next time!


SabihaHussainMD said...

Thats amazing! I feel like that could be me because I too had job restrictions due to my visa status and had also been looking at jobs in New Mexico. I'm a pediatrician who wound up in Bakersfield California and incidentally am also a gemini, also loved the princess bride, bend it like beckham, the kite runner and life of pi. How weird is life!

Universal Hearing screen guidelines said...

well I must say, that we lead parallel lives, as I too jumped ship and landed in Dubai where although there are high rises galaore and the fastest growing economy, health care here just isnt at the standard that I expected and I often haved to do it all for my patients. But at the end of the day, I love it. Becaus I get to care for patients as a whole.

fantasticped said...


I am pediatrician recently moved to Texas. Just to let you know that is very common no-show apppoitment in the minority communities. We try to limit this problem calling the day before and to have an additional phone number for back up. Changing cell phone here is like go to grocery store every wk. Also be sure to have an update on their personal information due to moving is also a problem.
I know that is not you fault and neither from people that live in the county , but the name of the clinics seems to be a title of a psicological triller book. If is possible to change that name?, could be nice. Good luck in your blog and new job

Alex Cvijanovich said...

It's great to hear from other peds in similar situations!
We have started calling our patients the day before to confirm if they have a phone. And we defintely recheck personal info each time they come. I know we're not unique in no-shows. This bothers mostly in winter when we're over-booked and have to send kids to our local ER.
We have also improved our clinic functioning by having patients reschedule visits or be triaged by our nurse if they come more than 15 minutes late to their appointment. If they are truly ill, we always work them in right away, but if not, they can return at the next available appointment, which is usually that same day or the next, at the latest. Since I am the only doctor in this particular clinic, it helps me stay on time. Since we've instituted this policy, families are much more time, so I can stay on time, and they don't have to wait for me! Sometimes, they do call if they are running late, and that way we can work other kids in around their delay.