From the first slice of the scalpel in gross anatomy class to the Hippocratic oath, University of Maryland School of Medicine students must survive a pressure filled, four-year journey of academic achievement and self-discovery. You can witness that journey through the eyes of ten students in “Med School,” an unprecedented five-hour documentary premiering this month on the Discovery Health Channel.
“Med School,” will premiere Sunday, January 20th from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (parts one, two and three), and Monday, January 21st from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. (parts four and five). Produced by Academy Award-winning filmmakers Bill Whiteford and Susan Hannah Hadary, “Med School” takes you into a world seldom seen by those outside the medical profession.
The ten students featured in “Med School” come from diverse backgrounds, but they share a common dream. As they explore the mysteries of the human body and learn the language of medicine, each will face a different series of intellectual and emotional challenges. It is their transformation from student to physician that is the miracle of “Med School.”
In episode one, first year student Steve Ronson is handed a scalpel and introduced to his “first patient”— a cadaver. For Steve and his classmates, cutting into human flesh is an emotional learning experience, both sobering and exciting. As they begin to understand human anatomy, the students of “Med School” overcome their fears and gain a new respect for those who donate their bodies to medical science. Ronson, a former Stanford University swimmer who came close to making the U.S. Olympic Team, handles the stress by adhering to a daily workout regimen.
Growing up in Columbia, Maryland, Ted Lawler was a star in the classroom and on the soccer field, but he chose medicine over a career in professional sports. Why? “My knees,” Lawler explains. After a series of knee injuries and dozens of sprained ankles, he became intrigued by the inner workings of the human body, especially muscles, bones and joints.
Now Lawler is planning to specialize in sports medicine, if he can survive the rigors of medical school. “You have to take in an incredible volume of information in a very short time, and you are tested constantly,” says Lawler. Someday, a patient’s life may depend on how well Lawler remembers that information. As one professor tells the students, “If you don’t get a diagnosis right, your patient could die.”
After graduating from rabbinical college, Shimon Blau of Pikesville, Maryland, hoped to become a filmmaker. But after a year in Hollywood, he reversed course and applied to medical school. An orthodox Jew, Blau’s religious beliefs and traditions present certain difficulties as a medical student. Every day, he wonders whether he made the right career choice.
In a highly stressful and competitive academic environment, the students of “Med School” must sacrifice in order to survive. Third-year student Dan Cuadrado has a wife and two young daughters. To spend more time with his family, Cuadrado rises at 4:30 a.m. every day to prepare for classes. But he is confident that he will realize his dream of becoming a doctor.
Filmmakers Bill Whiteford and Susan Hadary were granted full access to School of Medicine lecture halls, labs and patient care areas throughout the University of Maryland Medical Center. The result is an emotional and intellectual epic.
“I believe this film will give the public a better understanding of the drive, determination and discipline needed to succeed in medical school,” says Dean Donald E. Wilson, M.D., M.A.C.P., Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland and Dean, School of Medicine. “The training medical students receive at the University of Maryland prepares them to be capable, compassionate physicians and researchers,” says Dr. Wilson.
In 2000, the Whiteford and Hadary team won an Academy Award for “King Gimp,” a documentary that chronicles the struggles and triumphs of a Baltimore boy growing up with cerebral palsy.
for “King Gimp,” a documentary that chronicles the struggles and triumphs of a Baltimore boy growing up with cerebral palsy.
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