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June 22, 2016 - USA Medical Students Present at Internal Medicine Conference
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ACP conference.JPGFrom left: Brenden Ingraham, Cady Beedy, Umair Savani and Ben Nunley

Four rising fourth-year medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently presented at the American College of Physicians (ACP) Alabama and Mississippi chapter meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

The students – Brenden Ingraham, Benjamin Nunley, Umair Savani and Cady Beedy— had the opportunity to present a case report in the form of a poster presentation to members of the ACP.

“It was a great experience,” Ingraham said. He chose the topic “Coronary Vasospasm Following Anesthesia Induction in a Patient without Coronary Atherosclerotic Disease” because he found the case interesting and unusual. His poster discussed recognition of coronary vasospasm, risk factors and management of cardiac arrest in a patient with coronary spasm.

Dr. T.J Hundley, assistant dean for medical education and student affairs and associate professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine, worked with Ingraham on his poster presentation. Ingraham said Dr. Hundley’s guidance made him feel infinitely more comfortable to prepare presentations in the future. “Dr. Hundley helped me with the flow of the case, condensing the information and laying out the poster to have the greatest visual impact,” he said. “Our conversations throughout the process were extremely informative, and I was really happy with the finished poster.”

The experience helped Ingraham to see the importance of participating in and presenting research while in medical school. “The lectures were quite informative, and it was reassuring to see that the knowledge I have obtained at the USA College of Medicine is more than sufficient for what is being taught at continuing medical education lectures geared toward practicing physicians,” Ingraham said.

Together, Nunley and Savani won the poster competition. Their topic, “A case of Bilateral CN VII Palsy: Where have you been hiking,” explained a unique case about a patient diagnosed with Lyme disease. “I chose this case because the patient had an interesting and unusual presentation for his disease,” Nunley said.

“This case taught me that diseases do not always present in the classic form and may not follow the course described in medical textbooks,” Nunley added. “It also highlighted how important a detailed history and physical exam can be.”

Savani said learning how to dive into medical literature and apply it to patients is very rewarding. “However, when you get an opportunity to contribute to the medical community, it is a privilege because you get to share extremely valuable information,” Savani said. “It also shows us different avenues we can be involved in academically as we continue further in our training.”

Dr. Hundley and Dr. Elizabeth Minto, assistant professor of neurology at the USA College of Medicine and a neurologist with USA Physicians Group, assisted Savani and Nunley with their case. USA medical student, Sean Carter, was also involved in making the poster but was unable to attend the conference. “Dr. Minto gave us invaluable advice on the clinical aspect of the patient’s course and led to the decision to treat the patient for Lyme disease,” Savani said.

Beedy, another USA medical student, presented “A Complex Case of Cryptococcal Meningoencephalitis.” The case examined a HIV-negative patient with cryptococcal meningitis. Beedy said the case is rare because the patient did not have HIV or any other apparent cause of immunodeficiency, but somehow he developed this opportunistic infection usually seen in patients with HIV.  

Beedy believes it is important to discuss and investigate rare cases because oftentimes rare cases are the norm. “We learn the textbook presentation of disease while in medical school, but very rarely does disease present that exact way,” Beedy said. “Investigating this case, developing a presentation and talking about it with other physicians really pushed me outside of what we are used to doing as medical students.”

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