Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Meet the Albert Einsteins of medical jeopardy

The internal medicine residents at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia won the national medical jeopardy competition in San Francisco last month.

Meet the Albert Einsteins of medical jeopardy

The team left to right - Coach G. Garrido, MD, C. Punjabi MD, J. Wykretowicz MD, P. Ramakrishnan and A. Perelas, MD.
The team left to right - Coach G. Garrido, MD, C. Punjabi MD, J. Wykretowicz MD, P. Ramakrishnan and A. Perelas, MD.

Earlier this week, I wrote a story about the jeopardy competition for emergency medicine residents at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

It turns out, that’s not the only place where medical residents are testing their wits.

Medical residents at many hospitals around the region - there’s a championship match on Thursday at Lankenau Hospital - and the country participate in jeopardy-style matches.

There’s even a national competition every year, known as the Doctor’s Dilemma, at the American College of Physicians annual meeting.

And here’s the best part: This year’s national champions are right here in Philadelphia. The Albert Einsteins of medical jeopardy work at the Albert Einstein Medical Center (Actually, it's now known as the Einstein Medical Center. The hospital dropped the Albert about a year and a half ago.)

The team of internal medicine residents rose to the top of 38 teams at the match held in San Francisco last month. What’s more, Einstein has won the competition five times since 1997, more than any other hospital in the country.

It won in 1997, 1998, 2007, 2012 and this year.

The coach of this year’s winners was Guillermo Garrido, chief internal medicine resident at Einstein. Other team members include: Chitra Punjabi, Jedrzej Wykretowicz, Praveen Ramakrishnan and Apostolos Perelas.

They beat the University of Kansas from Missouri, St. Mary’s from Mchigan and Cooper Hospital from New jersey.

While every member contributes, Garrido noted that the team got a special boost from Ramakrishnan, whom they call “the human google.”

“He reads a lot. He already did his residency in India as well,” Garrido said. “We’re a really good team. We compliment each other well. Not everybody knows everything but together we do know everything.”

The team, he said, practiced once a week for a year. Every week, they’d take on 200 new questions. They first had to make it through the local competition and take on powerhouse teams from Penn, Temple and other area schools. Then they came out on top in the state competition.

“Pennsylvania is a tough state to represent,” he said.

Though intense, the competition, he said, is enjoyable.

“We’re a bunch of nerds, but we have fun doing that,” Garrido said.

For final jeopardy in the national competition, the team had to answer: “What is the imaging test of choice to diagnose hepatopulmonary syndrome (commonly known as liver and lung syndrome)?

The answer: A bubble study.

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