Amazing Mentor

“You are kidding me?  You want to become a doctor?  You can’t stand the sight of blood.”  That was my Mom’s reaction to my decision to go into medicine.  Things did kind of gross me out when I was a kid.  Kind of ironic.  When I got into medical school (Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas), I thought initially that I would become a family physician and go back to Colorado and be a small town Doc.  But once I started seeing patients in medical school, I soon realized that western medicine, in a large part amounted to disease management.  Growing up in a family of engineers, I liked to fix things.  That is where surgery came in.  And I was actually pretty good at it.  I was scared the first day of cadaver lab.  The smell was horrible.  But all that passed after the first day.  I was fascinated with the anatomy and when I got to surgery I saw some of the most amazing things.

Baylor was a trauma center and we saw a lot of trauma, including gunshot and knife wounds.  My first night on call a guy had been shot through the heart.  We did open heart surgery on him right in the ER and saved his life.  Now that was pretty cool!

Medical students “rotate” or spend a couple of months in each of the core medical specialties, such as internal medicine, general surgery, OB/GYN, pediatrics, etc.  As a medical student, I considered all the different surgical specialties.  After looking at the different surgical specialties, I thought I wanted become an Ear, Nose & Throat surgeon.  I had left my OB/GYN rotation fairly late in medical school because I did not think I was interested in this specialty.  I knew they did not have a life outside of medicine, and surgeons did not have a lot of respect for the average OB/GYN as a surgeon.  OB/GYN can be a lot of primary care and delivering babies, and as a result many OB/GYNs do not do much surgery and thus are not very experienced surgeons.

Dr. Franklin changed my perception of this in many ways.   First of all, what an amazing human being.  In the midst of an academic medical center full of big egos and a rush to see as many patients as possible in a day, I found this gentle compassionate man helping women in pain get their lives back.  He was also an amazing surgeon.  Not like the typical gynecologist, he was an extremely skilled surgeon.  He was also a teacher, for his patients as well as for the medical students and residents.  He would help women understand what was going on in their bodies and educate them on this disease called endometriosis.  He saw patients from all over Texas and would send patients back to their home town doctors armed with this newfound understanding of their disease to educate their doctors!

He was a true mentor for me, for he embodied my vision of what a physician should be.  A skilled surgeon with a unique skill set, that treats his patients with the care and compassion that all humans deserve and in the process provides healing where others have not been successful.  He told me to go to the residency OB/GYN training program in Wichita, Kansas if I wanted to go into this field.  He related that it may not be the most famous program in the country, but it was the best program in the country.  He was right – and after being accepted, I was off to start learning my skill set required to treat endometriosis and pelvic pain.