• The Rivers School

Sam Hamelsky - UMass Memorial Hospital

Do you think doctors stop at the scene of a motor vehicle crash (MVC)? This summer, I was fortunate to try to explore the answer to this question with Dr. Macnow, a pediatric emergency doctor at UMass Memorial Hospital. Before this assignment, Dr. Macnow studied how doctors react when faced with a medical emergency on a plane - under what conditions they assist and do they board the plane with additional medical items. Now, he is focusing his attention on a similar topic - how do doctor’s react to a MVC. While I could not visit with Dr. Macnow due to COVID restrictions, I prepared for my assignment by reviewing his prior work and analysis. I studied his prior survey where he interviewed doctors about their involvement in emergencies on aircrafts.


By partnering with Rachel Schneider, a med-student at UMass, we debriefed on the prior assignment and outlined a plan to assess the current project. Specifically, we relied on two websites to research doctors’ experiences with motor crashes. First, we used Redcap to create a new survey that helped us understand doctor responses in a MVC. We used the survey to ask doctors if they have ever been involved or helped out in MVCs, along with their comfort levels assisting in an MVC.




Second, we used PubMed, an online medical article database, that allowed us to sift through numerous articles on accidents by using different keywords. We spent time with a medical research librarian cultivating the different keywords or “Mesh Terms” we would use in our search. Our initial search came out to about 2,000 articles and we were able to narrow that down. We could sort these articles into different categories depending on the relevance to our topic. The articles provided essential examples that will be critical to the ultimate research project.


By developing my research skills, I helped find critical evidence to support our developing thesis. We then began outlining and writing the paper. In addition, I researched what to do if one comes across an MVC and compiled a list of all necessary items to keep in a car if a doctor comes across an emergency. This tool could be useful for doctors or any civilian to prepare for an emergency if called upon.





On a personal note, I enjoyed speaking with both Dr. Macnow and Rachel about their experience. Rachel gave me great insight into the steps needed to get into med school while Dr. Macnow talked me through what to expect after med school. I have a better sense of the steps necessary to become a doctor and I am more energized than ever to explore my dream. While my internship ended this summer, I plan on staying involved with the research paper during the school year. One day, I hope to shadow Dr. Macnow in the emergency room. I believe I have a better understanding of the responsibility of a doctor.