Through the basics…2

My third semester marked the point where I began to embrace the beauty of Medicine as both an art and a science. 

Semester 3:

Pathology I.

Pathology as implied by its root words “Pathos” which means suffering and “logia” which means an account of, has a lot to do with the study of the various causes & mechanisms of diseases in the human body.

Pathology is seen as the heartbeat of Medical science. It’s imperative not only in finding out how, when and why diseases evolve, but also in understanding their progression.

We were introduced to the infectious, environmental, genetic & neoplastic basis for a wide spectrum of diseases. Nevertheless some diseases are said to be idiopathic, that is, no known cause. I found learning those basic concepts both fun and challenging.


We all know that viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria are responsible for a lot of illnesses. This course explains the actual roles each of these organisms play in our bodies, and how many of them can be contracted, detected and prevented.

Immunology deals with explaining how the Immune system works. Our Immune system is responsible for fighting against microorganisms and foreign bodies that gain entrance into our bodies. The white blood cells do the bulk of that work and are referred to as the “Soldiers” of the body.



This course was another of my favorites. Just like physical ailments, mental diseases are to be given priority because they affect the overall quality of a patient’s life. 

Not only did we learn about cognitive, personality, mood and anxiety disorders; We also learnt about the normal psychological pattern of development from Childhood through Adolescence to Adulthood and even Old age. Then we learnt about how to medically manage everyday happenings like grief, substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse etc


Medical Ethics.

Here we were taught where to draw the line between saving lives and being reasonable. It’s especially important for a Physician to adhere to ethical conducts to prevent unnecessary litigation and the risk of losing his/her license to practice.

Two principles of Medical Ethics that were emphasized upon in this course are:

  • Beneficience: A Physician should act in the interest of the Patient at all times.
  • Autonomy: The Patient has the right to choose or refuse a particular treatment. 

Among other things, I also learnt that it’s unethical to accept certain gifts from patients. And ofcourse, we are NOT allowed to have romantic relationships with Patients…lol. 


Semester 4:

Pathology II.

We were able to learn about diseases relating to different Organs/Systems of the body in more comprehensive details. We also learnt what the risk factors for common diseases (like Hypertension, Diabetes) are and how we can diagnose them. The Cardiovascular system especially proved tough and it’s understandable, because the massive work done by the heart and the great vessels cannot be overemphasized, so are the diseases. 


The bulk of a doctor’s job seems to lie in deciding the appropriate medications to prescribe for patients on a daily basis. Trying to understand the concepts of Pharmacotherapy is like learning Latin for the first time. With the frequent emergence of drugs and alternatives to medical therapy, the knowledge of Basic Pharmacology is not sufficient for a lifetime of Medical Practice. One needs to constantly stay updated. 

To be sincere, a lot of cramming was involved in mastering the Indications, Classification, Mechanism of action, Side-effects and Contraindications of several drugs. Thankfully, I’m not done learning about them and it gets better with time. 



Finally, we got to the course where we had to “act” like Doctors. We were taught how to approach and interact with Patients, take History and perform Physical Examinations. We also learnt the common signs and symptoms for a number of diseases and how to make our differentials (i.e. weigh the probability of one disease versus another). It was demanding, nevertheless fun.

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And that brings me to the end of this post. I will be sharing some of my clinical experiences with you in subsequent posts.

Thank you for reading!


Through the basics…1

The first phase of my Medical School training was interesting both Knowledge and Experience wise.

In this post, I will be highlighting the courses I took in my first two Semesters, with emphasis on the ones that really piqued my interest.


Medical School Students (Photo-credit: WEB)
Semester 1:

Gross Anatomy.

The Human body is fascinating and Gross Anatomy gives an overview of it, structurally speaking. We studied the four major divisions of the systems in the body: Upper & Lower limbs, Thorax & Abdomen, Pelvis & Perineum, then Head & Neck. The last part intrigued me the most. Learning about the structures in the triangles of the neck and the gross features of the human skull/brain were some of my best moments in Anatomy.

Gross Anatomy Lab (Photo-credit: WEB)

Histology helps you to appreciate what goes on at the cellular/tissue level of the body. That way you know more about the finer details of your skin, eyes, bones, muscles, hair and more. Viewing microscopic slides and trying to determine what structures or epithelial tissues they were, was demanding but thankfully I can relate with some of them now.

Have you ever wondered how a baby gets formed in the womb? Embryology gives you the step by step guide from fertilization, to implantation, and the entire course of in-utero human development.

What fascinates me most about this subject is knowing & remembering specific dates. It was fun learning about the nitty-gritty of how & when each organ of the body is formed. 


This subject is directly related to all forms of medical research. It draws data on the distribution, morbidity and mortality of various diseases. This way Physicians have the advantage of knowing that certain diseases are endemic to specific places, races or age-groups. The challenge was in wrapping my head around various formulas as I tried to determine the Incidence, Prevalence or Case-Fatality of a disease or the Sensitivity and Specificity of a diagnostic test. It was fun while it lasted though.


Some Medical Textbooks (Photo-credit: WEB)

Semester 2:


Everything you need to know about how your body functions, from the way your heart pumps blood to how your stomach digests food, is covered in this subject.  Physiology is indeed the backbone of Medicine. It’s only by knowing what is normal, that we can better understand that which is an aberration. My favorite aspect remains Endocrinology. Knowing about the hormones produced in the body and what vital roles they play in our daily activities is astounding. 


Genetics may be likened to the study of elements in Chemistry. It deals with the very core of our human existence- the DNA. Although it seemed abstract for most part, I learnt many useful details about certain diseases. More than that, I got to know about some terrible medical conditions I never hope to come across in my medical career. 

A Medical School Library (Photo-credit: WEB)

This is where Chemistry meets Biology. When I think of this subject, I think of Pathways and Enzymes, and more Pathways and Enzymes. Shall I tell you of Glycolysis or Gluconeogenesis or the Krebs cycle? NoI won’t bore you with such ‘gory’ details. But just know that there’s more to what meets the eye happening in your body, right now. I particularly enjoyed learning about the 20 amino acids required for our normal body functioning. Some of those names sound really nice…Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine, You should look them up.


This tells you all about your nervous system i.e. Your brain, spinal cord and the nerves in every nook and cranny of your body. It’s a beautiful subject reserved for beautiful minds. Learning about the functional areas of the brain is the most amazing part. I can’t seem to get enough of it. In retrospect, Neuroanatomy isn’t as complex as it appeared few months ago. As we know, the brain is the most important organ in the body. A man who is brain-dead is clinically dead in Medical practice. 

Overview of the Human Brain
Thanks for reading!

Please watch out for subsequent posts.