No. of Recommendations: 42

Dear Friends:

After careful consideration, I have decided to accept the 2nd year residency position in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

This was one of the most difficult decisions I have faced in my life, and I am very grateful for all the advice and support I received from my friends, my online ones and my offline ones as well.

People who know me, will know that once I make a decision I stick with it to the end (perhaps that explains my attraction to a LTBH investing philosophy). I thought I had reached a final decision a few weeks ago when I decided to pursue the MBA, but then this great opportunity dropped in my lap. If you believe in destiny, then that certainly qualifies as a "sign from above".

If you read my original post requesting advice:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13859031
you may have noticed that I tried to be as complete as I could, but there were some facts missing from it that would have been helpful.

Here are some of them:

My wife is a board certified Family Practice physician, so while moving to Birmingham is not her first choice, she is highly employable. In other words, money is not the motivating factor in my decision.

One of the things that made me hesitate about going back to residency was the abuse that I received during my year as a General Surgery intern. The General Surgery program was highly malignant, we averaged call every other night, and there were many weeks where I worked in excess of 120 hours a week, and many of the attending physicians were verbally abusive. After speaking to current 2nd year residents in the UAB program, I believe that while the workload will be very heavy, the program is not abusive. As a matter of fact, all I have heard from current residents is that all things considered they love the program.

I love both medicine and financial analysis, but medicine was my first love, and touching people's lives in a very direct way appeals to me. Besides, if I discover that I really don't want to practice Orthopedics I can always go back to doing the MBA. The reverse is not true. Realistically speaking, this is the last chance I'll have to become an Orthopedic Surgeon.

As a 2nd year resident I will be going directly to learning Orthopedic Surgery. This means that I can concentrate on doing what I really love. In General Surgery, I had to suck up the good with the bad. In my clinical practice now in the Air Force, there are also many things that I don't like, but again I have to suck up the good with the bad. As a resident in Orthopedics, I will be free to leave if I so choose.

The advice I got here in the KP board and by e-mail was very valuable to me. I did pray; I did toss a coin; I did make a list of pros and cons; I called friends and family members. All of this went into my decision process.

I found bobrosen's message very inspirational:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13868611

I have read Richard Selzer's books, and have both Mortal Lessons – Notes on the Art of Surgery and Letters to a Young Doctor in my bookshelf.

Let me quote from Letters to a Young Doctor:

What! Your heart still dances toward Surgery? Why, then, welcome to the Fellowship of the Knife. And God help you. If not ... if so much as a single seed of hesitation has fallen from my pocket to germinate in your brain, turn aside. Let Surgery be a road not taken and not rued. Only a flaming Torch reflected in water can exist where it dare not go. Remember that Surgery, like Poetry, is a subcelestial art. The angels disdain to perform either one of them.

With that in mind, I go committed to the orthopedic surgery program. I will strive to give it my all.

Erick



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