Edward T. Carey ’14

Hey all,

Hope you all had a good weekend. I spent this past weekend out in neighboring Rhode Island, which I enjoyed tremendously. It was crazy to think over the weekend that within a week I will be finished with this amazing experience I have had in Hartford this summer.

I got back from my weekend away on Sunday night, and Monday morning I was back at it for my last week here. After sending a bunch of emails before going in, I spent the morning in the OR with my mentor. I then went down to the hospital’s digital printing center to pick up the hard copy of my poster for my presentation on Friday. This poster displays the results of my project on anterior component separation, which was my main research project this summer. Pleased with the results and how the poster itself came out, I am looking forward to presenting my research at the end of the week. One of the reasons I applied and was excited for this internship was the opportunity to do some pretty high level clinical research, and it did not disappoint. For the rest of Monday afternoon I continued plugging away on my TAP block research, inputting the rest of the data from the experimental group.

This morning was my long awaited shift with the hospital’s helicopter EMS crew, Lifestar. I loved seeing the insides of the helicopter and learning the ins and outs of aerial EMS. I have always had an enthusiasm for aviation, as well as medicine, so this experience combined these interests well. I was able to read some awesome magazines about the field in the flight crew’s lounge, which allowed me to learn more about the roles helicopters can play in emergency medicine. Despite the fact that I did not get to go up in the helicopter, it was a fun experience that I got a lot out of.

After getting out of my shift with Lifestar I got some lunch and got back to work. I plugged in the numbers from our control group in our TAP block project, which is just about done. Even though it will be published well past the end of my internship, I can’t wait to see how this study turns out, and I will be proud to have played a role, albeit small.

Stay tuned for updates from the rest of my last week in Hartford.


Hey friends,

As my internship at Hartford Hospital draws to an end, it is exciting to be wrapping up long standing projects while continuing to learn and see new things. On Wednesday I worked some more on my TAP block project, which is coming along well. Next week I have to get some data on pain levels from our control group, those who had hernia surgery done without a TAP block, before I get into data analysis. I observed a small procedure Wednesday afternoon with my physician, who was more than welcoming. It is nice that he is so accommodating and willing to have me numerous times throughout the week. That night I went out to dinner in West Hartford with a family friend, which was fun.

My doctor recommended that I spend a day with another one of the surgeons in his practice, which I did on Thursday. We spent a very long day in the OR, but at this point it is something I expect and have become used to. He was a really nice guy that I enjoyed meeting and spending time with. He was also hilarious, which is something I have noticed among a good number of doctors in Hartford, contrary to public belief. I also spent some time observing the anesthesiologist that day, which went along well with my work on TAP blocks. I have repeatedly found is that it is one thing to read about a procedure or medicine online or through my research, but it is another to see it in person and how it benefits patients. Over the course of this summer I have developed and discovered an interest in anesthesiology and how as a field it plays into medicine and surgery. I could definitely see myself going that route in the future, but we will see.

Part of what has made this experience so gratifying for me is how everyone I have met has been tremendously welcoming and willing to teach. I think a lot of this comes from many doctors’ individual passions for what they do. This is exciting to see, and I hope that one day I can develop such an interest and expertise in my profession, while also being able to teach and excite the next generation.

We also had our last weekly seminar Thursday, where we talked about the UN’s Millenium Development Goals and how they play into medicine. Our weekly seminars have been a good way for us all to reconvene and learn something new. I have enjoyed seeing the other interns and catching up after not seeing each other all week. This week one of the girls in our program made brownies, which were a hit. At night on Thursday I wrapped up my main research project and edited my poster, which my doctor approved, for our research symposium next week. Friday I spent the morning in the office with him and another physician joining his practice, which was intriguing. I liked seeing how he was getting acquainted with a new system and environment.

Stay tuned,


Hello all, sorry for the radio silence, but it has been a busy last few days here. Last Thursday I went to a meeting about patient safety in the hospital, which correlated well with a book I was reading at the time, called “Why Hospitals Should Fly”, by John Nance. The book was all about systems engineering lessons learned from aviation and applying them to design more efficient and safer healthcare organizations. Through this meeting it was interesting to get to see some more of the administrative side of things. Last Friday I finished up a much smaller project on posterior component separation procedures before heading up to Holy Cross for the weekend. That made two fully completed research projects on the summer, which I would consider pretty successful.

I had a fun weekend up at Holy Cross, catching up with friends and relaxing on campus. It was really good both nights to hang out and catch up with some friends I had not seen in a while. Additionally, I made two successful trips down the hill to Culpepper’s, went for a nice campus run, and went to mass on Sunday in the Jesuit residence to round out a successful weekend. In the last 2 weeks I have gone from zero visits to Ciampi in my Holy Cross career to two, which is my fun fact for the week.

This week so far I have gotten going on a third project, this one on applying transversus abdominis plane (TAP) blocks to hernia repairs. TAP blocks are a type of local anesthetic procedure used to help block pain following abdominal surgery. Before the study goes to a full blown clinical research trial, I am documenting some earlier cases to help form the protocol. I am particularly looking to find out what sample size will be needed for the trial to have effective statistical power. I am enjoying reading about different medicines and anesthetics and how they are used in the surgical sphere. Hopefully I can finish that up before my internship is over, if not by the end of the week.

Tonight a bunch of the interns and I went out to play some minigolf (putt- putt as some might like to call it) out in Farmington, CT. Six of us joined and we split up into threes for 36 holes of some pretty competitive fun. We finished up the round, as all mingolf should, with ice cream that knocked it out of the park.

Tomorrow I am going to keep chugging away on the research, I’ll keep you all updated with my progress.



I went home to New York this past weekend, which was fun and relaxing. Saturday afternoon I worked a couple of hours lifeguarding before going out to dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday. We went out to Mexican restaurant, and I made sure to try to show off some of my Spanish. Sunday I went to mass and then went on a twenty mile bike ride on a local trail with my dad. It was a beautiful day for a ride and a great workout.

After getting back to Hartford on Sunday night, Monday was a whirlwind but exciting day. Two of the other Holy Cross interns and I got to observe a thyroid surgery in the morning, and then we were invited to observe an autopsy in the afternoon. It was pretty intense at times, but an interesting atmosphere. We all enjoyed and learned a lot through this unique experience. Afterward a few of the interns and I went out into Hartford for the evening, which was fun.

This morning I went on rounds for a little bit in the neurology department. I enjoy learning about brain function and its pathologies, so that was cool for me. I left early from rounds to meet another doctor who is involved in management and I previously shadowed to go to the monthly Hartford Hospital management forum. This past spring I interned in Washington, DC, as a part of the College’s Washington Semester Program, where I learned about health reform, health management, and the challenges facing hospitals and health care today. As a result, I am interested in the inner workings of Hartford Hospital and how it is administered, which is why I attended this meeting. I learned about updates on hospital function, as well as recent challenges and successes, which paralleled many of the things I learned in DC. I was glad I attended this meeting, and plan on going to a couple more with the aforementioned physician before the summer is out.

This afternoon I worked a bit on a new project on a study on Transversus Abdominis Plane (TAP) blocks. It is an ultrasound guided approach where local anesthesia is injected into nerves in the patient’s side to help block pain from abdominal surgery. This is a somewhat new local anesthetic technique for hernia repair that my doctor and I will be studying in the next few weeks. We have a meeting this evening about this promising technique, so I will keep you all posted on my progress.

Catch you later.


Hey all, hope you’re all keeping cool in this brutal Northeast heat wave. Luckily for me the hospital and its OR’s are kept pretty cool.

I spent Tuesday of this week in the OR with my physician, watching him perform a few different surgeries. It is nice at this point to have spent enough time observing him to have a clear idea of what each movement is for and what he is doing throughout the procedure. Having a solid understanding makes the whole process much more interesting and engaging for me. I also learned a decent amount about anesthesia and how that plays into the overall surgical theater. It was very interesting to hear that side of things, and did not put me to sleep (sorry, I had to). I am definitely thinking more about anesthesia as an interesting career in medicine.

On Wednesday I spent the day in the OR with a cardiac surgeon. Observing heart surgery was honestly one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It was incredible to watch a beating heart pretty close in person, as it is the most fundamental and important organ, rivaled only by the brain. I have learned about the heart and its function in a number of my biology classes, both in high school and at Holy Cross, and have done plenty of dissections, all mimicking the human version, the real thing. Therefore, because of this academic experience and just how central the organ is to human life, seeing a human heart beating person was an almost surreal experience. This was a long day for me, being in the OR from 7:30 am to 4:30pm, but it was well worth it- definitely one of the cooler experiences I have seen this summer.

I spent Thursday this week with a primary care doctor who both runs the hospital’s clinic and serves in the hospital as a general internist. He was also a Holy Cross graduate, which I did not know when I set up the day of shadowing. This was a fun, unexpected connection that helped us to get along well. This was also an interesting, full circle experience for me, since I did a thesis this spring on the importance of primary care doctors. It was an interesting morning and I really liked the wide range of conditions he treats.

In the afternoon it was another intern and mine’s turn to host our weekly seminar. We talked about what the new health care law might mean for us as aspiring clinicians. I admit it can be a little dry, but I think it is really important to know what this might mean for us and our future careers.

Last night a few of the other interns and I went out for fireworks on the Connecticut River in Hartford. The show was delayed from its original date a few weeks ago, but it did not disappoint last night. We watched from a lawn outside an office building down by the river, but our viewing experience was complicated by the lawn sprinklers that may or may not have been coincidentally going off. Nevertheless, we had fun and got ice cream after, topping of a successful night.

Keep you posted for weekend plans.


Hey friends,

Hope all is well as you try to survive the heat this week in the Northeast. This past weekend I went up to Holy Cross to celebrate my 21st birthday and visit a bunch of friends who are living on campus interning and researching in the area. After pizza from the Corner Grille, we all just spent the night hanging out and catching up, and watching tv, which was nice. Sunday the 14th was my birthday, and in the morning I Skyped with my girlfriend who is teaching in Uganda this summer, which was fun. Afterwards my friends and I went to mass at Ciampi, one of the few buildings on campus I had not been in yet. It was cool to see where the Jesuits live and to celebrate mass in such a holy and humble setting. Afterwards we went to lunch at Culpepper’s, wrapping up a very “Holy Cross” weekend.

I returned to Hartford to meet and go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday with my parents, who, unbeknownst to me, invited a number of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was a fun surprise, which was kept well by all involved. We went out to dinner and ice cream in West Hartford, which we all enjoyed. It was great to see all of them and celebrate my 21st birthday.

It was back to work on Monday, which I spent in the Neuro- ICU. Today required an early wake up call, as I had to be in by 6:30 to attend rounds. During rounds I learned a lot about the brain and its incredibly complicated function, which was very interesting. I enjoyed interacting with the doctors, nurses, residents, interns, and medical students throughout the morning. Although I was clearly the lowest man on the totem pole, rounds were cool and I was proud to understand a good amount of the discussion. After rounds one of the physicians on the floor took a few of the residents and myself aside to give us an in-depth lesson on brain scanning. We learned about the complex physics behind the various types of MRI’s and CT scans and how to tell the difference. I liked hearing about how these technologies actually rely on somewhat simple physics but on a very high scale of complexity, requiring tons and tons of math. I also liked hearing about how different types of tissues display on different scans. Overall, today I learned a lot about how to read a brain scan and what types of normal and abnormal things to look for.

After work a couple of the other interns and I went for a run at the Trinity College track. Despite the 97 degree heat, according to one of our cars, we had a great workout and a good time. Running on the track has become a pretty nice after- work routine. After the track we went to central Hartford for dinner and then out to East Hartford to hit some golf balls. The weather was great, and exploring the town was cool. I was also pleased to see I haven’t lost my golf swing since the last time I played, which was about a month ago.

Overall its been a fun last few days. Keep cool in the next few days, and I’ll keep you updated.

A beautiful evening for hitting golf balls


Hey friends,

Sorry about the delay from the last post, the 4th’s shortened work week led to cramming work in before I left, and I didn’t get a chance to update the blog.

Last week was a fun one for me, as I spent Tuesday in the cardiac ICU, which was cool. Another intern and I went on rounds with the doctors and residents of the unit, which was a great learning experience. I had enough anatomy knowledge and acquired medical understanding from this internship to piece together what they were talking about for the most part. We looked on at a lot of EKG scans, which I was somewhat able to read by the end of the day. I learned about the different types of cardiac events and how they present themselves on EKG exams. These events were encouraging to me, and reminded me that I have learned a lot so far at this internship. We also met a doctor from Fairfield University, and we had an interesting chat about being premed, medical school, and Jesuit education.

I spent Wednesday of last week with my physician when he was on call, handling a number of different procedures back to back. Not only did I enjoy seeing a few different things in one day, I also liked the idea of being able to help people in various ways, not just through one procedure. We had a busy and exciting day. Again, long days on our feet, but very rewarding.

My long weekend at home was fun. I spent the 4th playing wiffleball, barbequing with my family and grandfather at home, and then going to another cookout at a friend’s house. I did some work on my research, and then went to the beach on Saturday. Overall it was nice to be home for a while, relax, and see some friends.

Coming back for week 6, it is amazing to think that I am halfway done with this exciting internship. Even more interesting and exciting was my day on Monday, which I spent in the labor and delivery department. I got to see a baby girl being born, which was truly beautiful. It was amazing to see someone literally seconds old. Overall, it was a fun day that I definitely enjoyed. Joining in the joy of everyone in the room was remarkable.

I spent today working on my research, compiling my findings and statistics into a paper. Our project is compiling data on component separation, a relatively new technique of complex hernia repair. I have been looking at demographics, outcomes, and finding out what types of patients tolerate the complex and lengthy procedure best. I have been using many of the lessons I learned in biostatistics in the fall as I write my paper, which is just another of the many ways my Holy Cross education has prepared me well for this internship.

Overall, its been a fun last few weeks. I’ll keep you posted as the week goes on.

Stay tuned,


This past Friday was a busy one for me, as I spent the morning and early afternoon in the maternal and fetal medicine department of the hospital. I set this up last minute, and it was an interesting change of pace. The department handles many of the complex pregnancy cases in the hospital, and I enjoyed being able to apply some lessons from the classroom on human development and genetics. I looked at a lot of ultrasounds, and was happy to have picked up how to read them pretty quickly.

In the afternoon, I met my doctor in the hospital before I went on rounds with him as he followed up with a few of the patients he had seen earlier in the week. I have learned a lot from him in this type of setting. Over the course of the last few weeks I have learned that although the surgery itself is important, the overall success is equally, if not more, reliant on post operative recovery and compliance. This is particularly true in the complex hernia cases I have been seeing. After we walked back to his office and had an interesting chat about golf, we discussed the progress of our research. I entered just about all of the data, but still have another day of entry once I get access to another database. Hopefully I can get that done this week. We’ve made decent progress so far, which I am hoping to continue.

Friday night a bunch of my fellow interns and I went out to dinner in West Hartford. It was nice to all hang out outside of work, although we all know each other pretty well by now. My parents came up on Saturday we spent the day out on a family friend’s boat. We had gorgeous weather as we rode on the Long Island Sound up and back to Rhode Island. Today we went to lunch in West Hartford and strolled through a Lamborghini and Ferrari car show, which was pretty impressive. Overall it was a fun weekend. I’m looking forward to a shortened work week and one of my favorite holidays, July 4th.

Talk to you soon


Hey all,

Couple updates from where the last post left off before I get into this one. Taking a road trip down to the City of Brotherly Love to see the New York Mets play the Philadelphia Phillies this past weekend was a lot of fun. We had perfect weather for a ballgame and Philadelphia has a cool stadium. The Mets played a good game, mounting a comeback before losing in a walk off. I also came really close to catching a foul ball, but it unfortunately didn’t happen. I then a little wiffleball with some friends on Sunday before driving back up to Hartford with my family.

I spent all of Monday in the emergency room here in Hartford. It was an interesting and exciting experience, pretty different than what I have been seeing in other areas of the hospital where I normally have been working. Never knowing what you would see next and encountering wildly different issues back to back was exciting. I already have experience in my local EMS and am pretty interested in emergency medicine, so having background and interest going in certainly helped me. I spent all day in the ER and worked through lunch, so afterward I got back and ate a bunch of the food I brought back from home before taking a solid nap. Overall this change of pace was one of my most exciting and enjoyable days so far at my internship. I hope to spend a few more days in the ER before the summer is out.

Today I spent the morning with my physician mentor in his office as he saw patients in that setting. It’s nice to start to get to know the other doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and receptionists that work in his office. I’ve gotten familiar with them and where everything is, which is really helpful.

This afternoon we had our weekly seminar, which was run by a representative from Da Vinci surgical robots. These Da Vinci machines are highly advanced and minimally invasive surgical robots. They have arms similar to those in laparoscopic surgery, but are operated through the physician sitting at and looking through a console a few feet away. You can look them up online- very cool, but kind of hard to describe without a picture. The representative described for us the technologies and capabilities of these robots, which were pretty impressive. He let us all take it for a test drive, using the console to essentially thread needles through a pincushion. They were pretty sensitive and smooth, but you can imagine my fear when one of the arms of the more than $2 million machine stopped working. Luckily he described how the machine prevents itself from doing what might be a dangerous motion. Despite that scare, it was an interesting and fun presentation.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s plans and those for the weekend.

The view from our seats in Philadelphia


This week I met up with and had dinner with Dr. Paul Vignati, a Holy Cross grad and doctor working at Hartford Hospital. It was a funny connection, and we had an interesting chat the other night about Holy Cross, sports, and medicine. Just meeting with him was a sign of the strength of the Holy Cross network, but he also brought that up too. He mentioned how he still has his Holy Cross friends he sees occasionally, and the number of times he has met or worked with other Holy Cross alumni over the course of his career. He was very willing to tell me about what he does and to have me shadow him for an afternoon in the future, which I will certainly take him up on. I ran into him a couple times later in the week, and it was great to have our HC connection, but it was also good to just know another face around the hospital. He said that he works with my doctor occasionally, so I’m sure I’ll see him again. Overall an interesting connection and a sign of the HC network’s strength.

Keep you posted,


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Edward T. Carey '14

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