Name: Wendy Chan
Location: Williamsburg, NY
Occupation: soon-to-be emergency medicine resident physician / filmmaker
Wendy Chan began her sojourn into emergency medicine by volunteering at the emergency department in an Oakland, California hospital. At the time she was working full-time as a video producer, but she had no idea how much like a movie her life was about to get.
“On my first or second day in the hospital, a paramedic shoved a bag of ice into my hand and said to me, “Make sure the patient we just brought in from the motorcycle accident gets his gum” and I thought, “Gum?” Then I looked down and saw I was holding the guy’s “thumb”. The medical team later reattached the guy’s thumb and I remember thinking, “Wow! It must be wonderful to be able to help people in such a profound way on a daily basis.”
Growing up a bit of a happy nomad, and living in cities like New York, Hong Kong, “and everywhere in between,” Wendy dreamed of being a movie star. Although as a med student she shares a starlet’s long hours, chaotic schedule, and always being in high demand, her life is definitely filled with more challenges than simply premieres and paparazzi.
“We’re expected to learn so much material it can be daunting at times. We often have to skip fun outings with friends, and skimp on sleep just to keep up with our coursework. In hospitals, the medical student is the low man on the totem pole, and our knowledge base is still burgeoning, so we don’t have the luxury of coasting through any part of our day,” she explains. “But each and every day you know more than you did the day before, you get to see the positive impact you have on the lives of your patients. I have absolutely no doubt that I have the best job in the world.”
With all the blood, guts, and g(l)ory, one would expect everyone to get a little skeeved out or rattled on the job, even a lady as tough as Wendy.
“It’s hard to freak me out these days, but I am always amazed by the types of objects people manage to fit into their rectums,”
“It’s hard to freak me out these days, but I am always amazed by the types of objects people manage to fit into their rectums,” she admits. “The patient usually presents with the accompanying story, “I just slipped and fell onto this large _______” Fill in the blank with anything you can imagine.”’
Not content to simply save lives and heal the hurting, Wendy is the captain of a social competitive fitness club called Team Falcon. Her group blows off steam with fun activities like a Turkey Trot or a push-up challenge, which is no sweat after a day in the ER.
More than just learning about the body, Wendy’s body of knowledge also includes foreign languages, Mandarin to be exact. She’s in a language program that includes Skyping with a tutor in Beijing five times a week for an hour at a time. This taste of the world inspired her to unite her two passions.
“I created an international medical project where I will be spending a month in an orphanage in China and creating medical records and performing physical exams and vision screenings for the children,” she says. “And I’m also in pre-production for a fitness in America documentary, which involves a road trip and interviews with everybody from senior citizens who do Wiifit to nude yoga in Santa Monica to WWE hopefuls in middle America who train on the farm.”
For her relentless buttkicking in scrubs, sweatpants, and speaking a foreign tongue, we think Wendy Chan is one very Cool Girl!