Everything I learned in Med School: GI/Renal Block


Another block down, and only 2 more to go! How crazy is that?! We have happily transitioned into Block 6 now, but I wanted to reflect on the rigors of Block 5. Our Block 5 was GI and Nephrology. This block was literally “bittersweet” because I LOVED GI, and I did NOT love nephrology. This was also our last block of anatomy, which was bittersweet at the time, but now with all the extra free time I have, it is just purely sweet ;-).

Don’t forget to check out everything else I learned in medical school! Here is Musculoskeletal, Neuro, and Cardio/Pulmonary!

Everything I learned in Medical School: GI/Renal

  • Pancreatic cancer is devastating. Often considered so deadly because such a small percent are diagnosed at a point when surgery could be helpful. The rest are diagnosed so late, that surgery isn’t a helpful option.
  • Although the abdomen is complicated, it makes sense. I loved in anatomy that I was able to understand the flow of food, and visualize the absorption of nutritions.
  • GI makes sense. We need food for energy, and our digestive system ensures that.
  • Renal physiology is math. I’m not very good at math, so it was really challenging for me. This was by far one of the hardest exams I took this block, and in medical school in general.
  • Gallstones are common, and most are asymptomatic! Many people have them their whole lives never knowing about them. And most people never have any issues from them, either!
  • Your arteries are not symmetrical. Even the venous drainage of you internal organs differs from right to left, who knew!
  • There are so many anatomical anomalies in different human bodies. Its really only appreciated in the cadaver lab, but it is amazing. Here is an example of some of the different ways your renal veins can be attached.
  • Your adrenal medulla and adrenal cortex (both part of the adrenal gland) are derived from completely different parts of the developing embryo. This makes it a pain in the but to try to remember the different nerve innervations!
  • The vagus nerve is in charge of the innervation for most of your gut – but provides very “nonspecific” pain, making GI pain hard to localize. Which is why having abdominal pain can lead to an entire novel for a differential diagnosis.
  • Often times the appendix is located NOT in the lower right corner, which is actually very important to know! So any complaint that sounds like an infection gets a CT, even if it is in a location that is not where the appendix typically is.
  • Embryology is important, especially in GI block. The development of the gut is amazing, and I really think its something that is clinically relevant.

This block really flew by quickly, and was pretty surface level knowledge. There are general surgeons, nephrologists, gastroenterologist, etc to deal with the field! So it makes sense that what we are taught isn’t very in depth (although it feels like it is). I really enjoyed this block but I’m ready to head on to Block 6 Endocrine/OBGYN!

Have a wonderful day!

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