Pestana’s Surgery Review, Ep. 1 – Trauma

Dr. Carlos Pestana is an Emeritus Professor of Surgery at UT San Antonio who has won over 40 teaching awards and prizes. He worked on the NBME’s Comprehensive Part II Committee in the 1990s and designed part of the Step 2 exam. He is famous for his books Fluids and Electrolytes in the Surgical Patient, and Dr. Pestana’s Surgery Notes, which is a very concise and high-yield review book.

Dr. Pestana recorded a series of podcasts that act as a companion to his notes. The episodes are hard to find, but are now being put out by Med School Beast to help students around the world learn about surgery. I found these very good for reviewing for the NBME Surgery Shelf and Step 2 exams, and they also made me a better student and improved my performance on the wards.

How I saved money on my Comcast internet bill by switching the name on the account

It’s a waste of time to call Comcast. You probably won’t get any discounts for your loyalty. These days, even threatening to cancel while on the line with one of their “retention specialists” may not get you a deal, and if it does, it’s unlikely to be a good one. Besides, phone calls to Comcast often take forever, and you have better things to do with your time.

If you want a good deal, you need a new customer special. One of these:

Just go to, sign up as a new customer using your roommate’s/spouse’s name (or maybe your dog or alias idk), skip past all of the other stuff they want you to sign up for, and that’s all. Comcast will automatically put in a cancellation for the existing account at your address and email them to that effect. You then just download the Xfinity app on your phone, go through the activation process (put in the MAC number on your router), and you’ll have internet access in about 5 minutes.

Do this once a year or whenever your “New Customer” pricing runs out. Simple, and no phone call involved.

You can go back-and-forth between your name and whoever you live with multiple times (see this Reddit post).

Enjoy the savings — goodness knows we need them this day and age.

Pediatrics Clerkship Tips and Studying Resources, Part 1

I’m mid-clerkship, and here’s what I found helpful so far:


Pediatric Emergency Playbook. Your best bet. This is a great podcast by UCLA-based Tim Horeczko, MD. He digs into topics for about 1 h at a time. It’s pretty engaging, and brings in cases, the latest research, and lots of clinical pearls. Many of the topics are high-yield, such as diarrhea, syndromes, otitis media, and strep throat.

Peds in a Pod. This one is by a few fun residents and some attendings. They are making it to review for the pediatrics boards. The episodes vary in length and quality, and are generally pretty good.

Peds Cases. More variable in quality. Mostly pretty short.


I’m using BRS Pediatrics as more of a textbook, and I like Pre-Test Pediatrics and Case Files: Pediatrics for lots of questions and for cases followed by questions, respectively.

Special things to bring with you

I clipped a little stuffed animal penguin on my stethoscope. Kids like it and parents think it’s cute.

Stickers are good to stash in your white coat.

As always, stock up on alcohol swabs, and always have a trusty penlight, lots of pens, highlighter, stethoscope, and maybe even a tuning fork. I like a White Coat Clipboard and/or small legal pad too.

I also snagged one of these $2 cards to go on a badge reel with normal vital sign ranges for the various age groups you will see and developmental milestones (can find on eBay, Amazon, etc):

How to get the frost and ice off your -80 ºC samples so you can read the labels

Do you have a big frosty box of Eppendorf tubes where you can’t read the tops? Rubbing of the frost not working?

I found that quickly blowing the tops with a heat gun does the trick, while barely warming up the samples.

You can always get a cheap-o heat gun like this one from Home Depot rather than paying hundreds for a “science” heat gun from a scientific supplier, but it probably will die on you sooner. A hairdryer can work in a pinch.

Happy defrosting and label-reading!