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Introduction to Sean Donahue, DO

I am a 33 year old Colorado Native currently pursuing my second Residency in Emergency Medicine at the Stanford/Kaiser Program in Palo Alto, California. My journey through medicine has been long, varied, and filled with fortuitous events which inevitably shaped my path.

I first experienced medicine when I was 6 years old and I visited patients with my father in the hospital. He was an Internist for 33 years and to this day remains my greatest inspiration. His dedication to his work and the quality relationships he forged with his patients was the impetus for pursuing my own medical career. I received my Undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. While traveling down the road to Medicine, I also worked as a landscaper, housepainter and biologist. Finally, I worked as an EMT for 4 years before hitting the books again in medical school.

In 1998, I met a wise, incredibly compassionate 80 year-old Physician mentor who opened my eyes to the world of Osteopathy. He told me about a school where “you learn how to treat people as humans not as subjects.” After seeing his enthusiasm and hearing about his philosophy regarding medicine, I was sold. Shortly thereafter I was accepted to Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa. As a testament to the strengths of DMU, 85% of my class chose careers in Primary Care (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics, and Pediatrics), and nearly 30% went on to work in rural and underserved areas; an anomaly in today’s world of Medical education.

In 2003, I started my first Residency in Family Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. After completing this program I was Board Certified in Family Medicine. Most Physicians find one Residency to be more than sufficient (not to mention arduous and costly.) For me, the additional education of a second Residency was the next logical step (or a totally masochistic move depending on who you talk to) towards becoming the type of well-rounded doctor I have always hoped to be.

To me, Emergency Medicine is a natural extension of Family Medicine: in both fields you treat individuals of all ages with a variety of medical problems. My interest in pursuing additional training in Emergency Medicine was sparked after taking several International Medical trips to Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa. There I was able to put my training in Family Medicine to excellent use, but I wanted more experience in caring for trauma victims and other medical emergencies.

As an Emergency Medicine Physician, you play an integral part in your community: you are always there for those in need, and at times are the last bastion of hope for those seeking medical care. Being an Emergency Medicine Resident is truly the “toughest job you will ever love.” You are often pushed to the brink of mental, physical, and spiritual limits. Every shift is different, and you never know what is going to come through the door.

Happily I have the support of my wife, Megan, of 7 years who stays at home with our 5 month old son, Sean Lawrence. In our free time we love to camp, hike, ski/snowboard and travel!! We hope to continue to combine our love of travel and service by completing at least one International Medical trip a year.

Through these writings, I hope to convey to you as honestly as possible real life experiences from inside a busy Emergency Department. I welcome your comments and questions and look forward to sharing this journey with you.
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About the Author

The Stanford Emergency Room is the center of emergency care at Stanford University.