Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet Lila

Each year I mentor several medical students that spend a few weeks interning in our office to get hands-on learning in the field of reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery and I thought it was about time we introduced the bright students that are going to be the future of medicine!  For the 4th year interns who choose our practice for their elective internship, we really wanted to give them a well-rounded scope of topics we feel are important to helping future physicians properly care for their patients; from surgical techniques to office management and patient caretaking.  First up on our spotlight is Lila.

dr david whiteman southern plastic surgeryOriginally from Alpharetta, Georgia, Lila is an aspiring pediatrician who we have had the pleasure of working with for the past several weeks.  Lila received her Bachelors of Science in Biology (with a minor in Global Health) from Emory University and is currently studying at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia Campus.  We sat down with Lila and asked her a few questions about her time spent interning with the Southern Plastic Surgery family:

What made you choose a career in medicine?  For as far back as I could remember being a doctor is what I said when people asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I have a brother who had very bad childhood asthma, and to me, the doctors that looked after him during his really terrible asthma exacerbations were miracle workers. I wanted to do for other families what they did for mine.

Describe your internship in ONE word.  “Independence”.  Dr. Whiteman really pushes his interns to think independently, but will never abandon us and will never waste an opportunity for us to learn something.

What skills have you learned that you think will be most valuable in your medical field?  I won’t be doing a lot of plastic surgery in my practice, but nonetheless have learned some incredible things that I will carry with me throughout residency and my practice.  Dr. Whiteman has really helped me improve my suturing and surgical skills.  What I’ve learned will be invaluable throughout my emergency medicine rotations and pediatric surgery experiences.  I also have learned so much about wound care and management, post-operative care for patients, and am now able to confidently discuss the risks, benefits and process of certain procedures that I will be referring my pediatric patients to plastic surgery for.

What’s been the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far during your internship?  I’ve learned that it’s ok to ask for help! I won’t always know the right answer or what to tell my patients – but its ok, that’s why I’m working with the best to learn!

What’s been the biggest challenge?  How to transition from thinking like a student to thinking like a physician.  Suddenly, it isn’t about just diagnosis anymore, it’s about recognizing disease states and conditions, testing for them, efficiency and being economical with my time and tests I want to order.

What’s the best thing about interning with Southern Plastic Surgery?  Some may say plastic surgery is a very superficial or shallow field of medicine, and I admit, before I started I can’t say that I completely disagreed.  But, working with Dr. Whiteman, I’ve really been humbled by his work, his patients, his attitude and the relationship he has with his patients.  It isn’t about looking “pretty” or “beautiful” – although all his patients I’ve seen certainly do look so, but rather it’s about how his patients FEEL and celebrating who they are and how they feel about themselves.  He helps patients who have lost over 100+ pounds celebrate by removing excess skin and helps women who have beat breast cancer rebuild a part of their bodies that are so associated with femininity.  He treats every patient that walks through his door like family – and that is something that really made an impression on me and I aspire to achieve in my own practice.

What’s your favorite memory so far?  Dr. Whiteman dancing to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars in the operating room while his patient got settled, so she was more at ease.  It is surgery, yes, but he always made it fun!

Then, we asked her the really tough questions:

Hobbies: Traveling, cooking, spending time with family & shopping.

Favorite movie: The Princess Bride

Do you have a personal motto?  It is a quote from a famous Persian poet that my father read to me growing up, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

Fun fact about yourself:  I never use my given name, Lila!  My nickname, which everyone knows me by, is only a one letter difference from my given name!  “Lily” Is my nickname.

If you didn’t practice medicine, what would you do professionally instead? A wedding planner! One of my hobbies is decorating and party planning, but a lot of why I enjoy this is because I love celebrating happy occasions with families!  In medicine, when my patients gets discharged from the hospital after several days and get to go home healthy again, it’s always a mini-celebration!

Favorite weekend activity in Atlanta:  In the spring I love to get lunch from Alon’s Bakery and have a picnic at Piedmont Park!

Pick one: breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner?  Brunch.  Definitely brunch.

Stay tuned for more intern spotlights in the upcoming weeks to learn more about the stellar group of men and women you may see around the office from time to time.  Feel free to also contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C. with any questions you may have about our practice or procedures.  You can also stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.