Taking Notes: Students Published in Clinical Journal

April 4, 2011

While on rounds with the senior doctor during clinical rotations in Obstetrics & Gynecology in London at Ealing Hospital, AUC clinical students Ingrid Paredes and Marlon Pastrana were being taught the importance of consenting patients before surgery.

Soon after, the two were helping construct an article for a peer-reviewed journal on the importance of such a process.

And it all started with the snap of a camera.

Paredes and Pastrana, who are engaged, had the opportunity to follow a patient scheduled for elective Caesarean section early that fall morning. The two were on rounds with Dr. Tan Toh Lick, who started training in OB/GYN in1998.

During the C-section, an ovarian cyst was found after the delivery of the baby, an eventuality the patient had been counseled of during the consent process. The patient was informed of the finding and confirmed that she wanted to have the cyst removed.

Paredes photo-documented the mass with permission and shared it with Dr. Tan soon after the delivery.

Dr. Tan thought it a fortuitous coincident demonstrating the value of the consent process, and suggested that Paredes and Pastrana write an article about the importance of implementing such a practice.

The outcome: with the help of Dr. Tan, both students got their work published in a reputable medical journal.

The paper, after some tweaks, was printed in the British Journal of Medical Practitioners (Volume 4, Number 1) in the March 2011 edition.

Titled “Incidental adnexal mass at Caesarean section – the value of implementing a comprehensive consenting process,” the article delves into the importance of drafting an in depth consent form to facilitate and document the comprehensive discussions of the surgical procedure and other risks or additional procedures that may be relevant during the surgery. The paper also notes that Ealing Hospital had adopted the use of standardized consent forms for common procedures, and that the paperwork was available for download and customization.

“Sometimes doctors would write in a way that you wouldn’t understand – but this one is typed so everyone can understand it,” said Paredes, who, with Pastrana, is currently completing additional clinical rotations in Gainesville, Fla., at Shands Hospital.

Paredes wants to pursue a career in OB/GYN, while Pastrana is looking to match into a neurosurgery program next year. Eventually, the two want to move back to Miami where they met and have family. Both are of Cuban descent.

“We both wanted to do medicine since we were in Cuba,” said Paredes, who, with Pastrana, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. “I was 15 when I came from Cuba and he was 16 and both of our families are in Miami. Our dream is to work in that area. We feel like our Hispanic communities need us, and we want to give back.”

To be published, Dr. Tan says, is not common, especially for students.

“I think it’s quite an achievement, really,” said Dr. Tan. “It was a joy to work with them because they were always so interested. They were helpful, and always eager in asking questions.”