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Resident Spotlight: Martin Weiss, MD

Friday, January 18, 2019

When a comatose young mother came into Duke’s Neuro Intensive Care Unit (Neuro ICU) after a cardiac arrest, second-year resident Martin Weiss, MD, and other clinicians worked overtime to give her the best possible care. Weeks later, that diligence was rewarded when Weiss saw the woman sitting up and enjoying breakfast. For this week’s Spotlight interview, Weiss talks to us about about his time as a resident so far, the joys of seeing patients recover, and how his background in computer science and applied mathematics allows him to bond with members of our faculty.

What are your current responsibilities as a Junior Assistant Resident? What does a typical day for you look like?
Responsibilities vary based on the rotation. When patients are on the Neurology service you are responsible for making sure that their plan, formulated together with an attending or/and chief resident, is followed. The internal medicine year I completed at Duke provided an outstanding foundation in general medicine, which is fundamental to becoming a neurologist and caring for patients with neurological problems. In JAR year there’s a steep learning curve  and my senior residents and attendings have helped me gain the fundamental skills, while over time allowing for more autonomy with decision-making and formulating plans.

How and when did you first get interested in neurology? What interests you the most about the field?
My first encounter with neurology was prior to medical school while shadowing a family member who is a neurologist. In med school, neuroanatomy was one of my favorite courses and the problem-solving aspect was very appealing to me.

What’s been the most memorable or enlightening experience for you as a resident so far?
My most memorable experience was caring for a young mother in the Neuro ICU after traumatic cardiac arrest. Caring for her the first week was full of uncertainties, however our team worked tirelessly to give her the best possible chance for recovery. When I left the ICU, she was still comatose and intubated. A couple of weeks later I was on weekend call covering the general neurology service and I recognized her name immediately on the list. When I walked in to her room and saw her sitting up in her chair eating breakfast, I felt the most alleviating feeling in the world and was reminded that it’s a privilege to what we do.    

You have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and applied mathematics. How does this experience inform your current work?
My educational background in mathematics and my experience developing investment banking risk management and trading software has provided me with problem solving skills I use every day. It also gives me the opportunity to have an excellent conversation with Dr. Hartsell on Blockchain technology, or with Dr. Luedke on new ways to apply imaging technology.

What other passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
I love spending time with my wife & dog. Since my wife is from the south (I grew up in New York City), I’ve learned to love country music and am always up for a concert. I also like to try out different recipes, as my co-residents can tell you some are more successful than others.



Weiss poses with his wife, Jennifer.