Brandon Barton

November 20, 1973

 Diary Link

I am a neurology resident as of 7/1/04! I'm finally on the beginning of the career I have been headed for all these years (not that I knew what I wanted to do until I got here!). I'm from Salt Lake City, UT and graduated with a BA in English in 1999. I went to the Medical College of Wisconsin from 1999-2003 and did my preliminary year in Internal Medicine at Rush University Medical Center, where I continue on in neurology. I hope to jot down a few thoughts every couple weeks both for myself and for (hopefully) the benefit of all who care to read. I'm still trying to decide what to be when I grow up. As for now I am going to start as a Movement Disorders fellow at Rush in 7/07.

Dear friends, family and colleagues:

I have moved across town in Chicago (once again, just can't stay in the same place for more than 2 years....)

Please make note of the new address and phone contacts.  I also have a roommate now in case a stranger answers the phone!


Brandon Barton

New address click here


Hi Dave and Barton family: Latest diary link 02/05/2004

Hey all:

If you want to keep abreast of the occasional journal entry I still write occasionally at  Things are going well, just staying quite busy with work still, working on the Stroke/Critical Care service this month.  There are a lot of sad things that happen, but we do our best to maximize the outcome and treat what we can.  I will try to write more in the future.


I am still around and kicking, barely.   I am going into the 5th month of residency and it has been a LOT of work!   Well, there are new restrictions on how much residents can work that went into effect since I have started--but 80 hours a week plus travel time can still add up to a lot either way.  I have spent a month in the following areas:  hematology/oncology, general community medicine (in Skokie), outpatient medicine, general medical floors, and right now I am in the coronary critical care/step down unit.  This month is the most intense and the longest hours; I am learning a lot about cardiology but also realizing that neurology is still what I really want to do in the future.   I don't start the neurology training until July 1 next year, but the year of general medical training is really giving me a good background so far.  I work with some great people, and most of the time it's actually a pleasure to work with the patients as well.   Other than that, the rest of my life is kind of suffering since I'm working a lot, but I try to have fun when I can.   Hope that the family is well, I haven't heard much about the Barton's in UT lately.  Did you know there is a cousin here in Chicago?  He is in OB as well, also named Richard Barton.   I will keep you informed as I get new info.  Take care everyone.




I would love for you to post on the website that I have been selected to pursue my residency in Neurology at Rush-St. Luke's-Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago, IL.  I will spent my first year (which starts on July 1 officially) in general internal medicine, and then for the next 3 years I will be training as a specialist in Neurology.  I am excited to move to a big and diverse city which has a great hospital system.  Rush is located a couple miles west of the Loop in downtown Chicago and is pretty close to the United Center and adjacent to the University of IL.  Also in the vicinity is Cook County hospital, which is the hospital featured in the TV show ER, where I will spend several months as well.  After the four years are done I will be able to (finally!) start practice as a neurologist...I am not sure if I am going to pursue an academic or private practice at this point.  I will be moving to Chicago at the end of May, and I am currently anticipating renting a studio in Lakeview, which is north of downtown.  If anyone is interested, my graduation is on May 16 in Milwaukee, and I will be sending out announcements later---anyone who wants to come visit is welcome, although I certainly don't expect anyone to have the time or money to do so.  Thanks for all of your support--each one of you has contributed in part to my accomplishments.  You can email me at anytime.  


Brandon Barton




Brandon attends Medical College in Wisconsin.  Good Luck!

E-Mail Sent 1-1-2002
Hey Dave:

Thanks for the notice about the website being up/  I like the job you did with the new pics of our fam, especially my evil shot.  I am back in Milwaukee now in a new apartment and am getting ready to start a new semester in med school.  Things are busy and often stressful but I am enjoying it overall.  I wanted to let you know of a new website that I am participating in which involves me keeping a med school journal.   The link is :

This way I can keep everyone informed about my weekly activities in an interesting way.  My old personal website is still good too, but it wont be updated as much...but it has all the pictures.  Well, hope you had a good holiday and wish the family well. Thanks for all your work on the site, it is one of the few ways I have to keep up with everyone. 

Brandon Barton

Cell: (414) 213-7570
Page: (414) 222-3262



Latest News from Brandon Sent 1-28-2002

Today was rather uneventful...we had lectures in the morning on lipid lowering agents and guidelines, which was quite good, and also on palliative care. Last week I spent an afternoon visiting a patient with the home hospice nurse. She had pancreatic cancer and had already lived 6 months beyond her expected time of death. I had expected to see someone a lot sicker than she was...she was only slightly affected by the disease currently. We talked about how she wanted to be morbid. Thoughts about death have been kind of overwhelming me in general lately with all of this going on. I was also glancing at the obits for the deaths on Sept. 11th at the World Trade Center and I became strongly affected--those people were part of me since they could have been me. Overall this field has got me thinking about what it is like to die and to face the reality of my own death at any possible moment. I'm having an early midlife crisis of sorts I suppose, on the brink of getting a little older. For the afternoon, the doctor that I was supposed to work with at the clinic had to go for personal reasons, so I got the afternoon off to finish my patient presentation (on diagnosing pleural effusions in a patient with scleroderma...a real patient I saw last week) and palliative care reports. I also went to the gym...I try to go most nights. I have never in my life been as physically active as I am now in med school, which seems to be the opposite for most students (I have lost 30 lbs while most have put that much on!). I think it was a combination of being frustrated with being slightly overweight and also the knowledge that I gleaned from my science classes about staying fit. Either way its a habit and I'm addicted to the feeling of a good clean and refreshing and one of the best stress busters. Speaking of stress I am now on a trial of Paxil for anxiety, as recommended by the school counselor/psychiatrist. So far its going ok despite some tiredness and actually some dyspnea...strange. I am a living medical experiment...I will let you know how it goes. This is not a drug advertisement or endorsement.


Latest News from Brandon Sent 1-20-2002

Just getting back from studying at a nice coffee shop near home...I just moved closer to downtown by the university here. It is a different world, more young folks, more trendy, I love it. Our med school is located in a quiet suburban area, which is nice if you like safety but not if you like to have fun (well, depends on your definition of fun...). Another pretty busy week...I changed hospitals mid month to an outpatient clinic. Interestingly I work along with the same Nurse Practitioner that is my regular primary physician...makes it a little awkward, we just don't talk much. The first day I was treated like a third class citizen by one kind of absent minded doc, but the second day was awesome...the other doc gave me a lot of feedback on my patient history and presentation, specific instructions, and even learning issues to research for next time. Its amazing what a difference the attitude of the teacher makes, if they even teach at all. I also spent an afternoon with a ophthalmology resident at the eye clinic, that was a marginal experience as he didn't really teach either, and besides he was kind of a jerk (smooth to the patients, kind of rude behind their backs). But hey they aren't getting paid to teach, you just have to make the best out of everything you get, a good teacher is a huge bonus. You can learn a little from everyone. I also went to see a school psychiatrist about my aggressiveness (lack of) issues and it turns out maybe I'm still dealing with anxiety and social phobia issues, and after a brief talk she had me convinced to start back on some meds for that. Would you believe that a good portion of the med students are on them? Paxil for anxiety and a beta-blocker for presentations etc. I guess I'm going to go ahead and try it this week, a living experiment for y'all. Ambulatory medicine is a lot nicer, just 8-5 M-F, no call no weekends. It will be a nice way to finish the month.

Latest News from Brandon Sent 1-13-2002

Today was my first day off after 7 straight days of working...and I took a well needed rest. I wish I could take the time to tell you all the highlights of every day this week...but if I did that I wouldn't have time to study either...its kind of a tradeoff. So a few highlights...I really for the first time am starting to develop feelings for the patients I take care of. They are in such a dependant position and most of them are very sweet (while a few just cuss at me) and I am learning how much of a bonding experience it is to touch them, hold their hands, touch their shoulders, and just visit often and talk. I find I am very eager to go back tomorrow and find out what has happened since I have been gone. A lot happens even in just a night when you aren't there. Taking care of a hilarious old sarcastic lady who when told she had Stevens Johnson syndrome wished more for "Don Johnson's syndrome--he may be young but he's hot." Also, a gentleman with anasarca (full body edema) that has about 100 lbs of water backed up in the tissues and abdomen...never seen anything like it, nor the humor and dignity with which he deals with the situation. I don't know how much I can tell about patients online here, but I think its ok just to describe the general medical conditions...that is anonymous enough. Lots of CHF and chronic renal failure out there, surprising number of seriously infected wounds (stinking...anaerobic) and gangrenous toes...I never knew they just fall off if you let them ("mummified"). I am learning so much about just how to manage the day to day needs of the patient...learning by example and by mistakes I make. Nothing beats the great team of residents that I am working with...they are so kind and human as well, unlike what I can say for SOME other specialties (to be named...ok I'll just say it...OB/GYN!). I want to respond to a few questions from posts...hope nobody minds if I do that here. Question: "I am so glad to look for someone who is in the similar age as me. I am not very strong physically (though I do not have any health problem). My parents reject my pursuit of being a medical doctor as they (I personally agree) worried that I cannot complete the degree and the training due to my physically ability. So, may you be able to tell me the hardship in Medical school? And any advise? " Answer: Yes it does take a basic minimum of strength to be a doctor...when you apply to a school and get accepted they make you sign a basic competency sheet that outlines all the physical requirements that must be met to become a med student, such as ability to see, hear, smell well, etc. as well as have basic physical skills. However, they do want you to note your deficits and talk to them individually about working around them if possible. I have heard of people with disabilities become MD's...such as midgets, paraplegics, mental illness, etc. Some professions don't require very much strength at all, if you can survive the overall training. My advice is to talk to the individual schools you are applying to and see what their accommodations are for such problems. They can't discriminate but they can set basic minimal standards for abilities based on the expectations of the job. Question: "Any tips for the Boards or rotations would help, too"--Answer: well that's kind of broad, hope to do that over the next while. As for boards, my general advice is do well in your classes and don't worry about the boards until classes are over. Do an intense review (I did 5 weeks about 8 hours a day) and read the best review books, maybe some notes too. First Aid is the key text, as much as I hate "summarized info" (shortcutting the critical step of THINKING about things rather than memorize them) but you have to admit this is a test of memory skills. The memorizing is better left to the class period than the review period. Ask any more questions, ok. Question: Re: an introverted personality in med school: are you such a minority? Are there people from all walks of life and dispositions at med school or is there a prevalent personality type? It seems to me that the advantage that some of us older, nontraditional types bring to the fray is the sensitivity and maturity that people are looking for in an understanding doctor. I think you absolutely need those qualities to examine the whole person (i.e. to use the bio/psycho/social model). Answer: There are all types of people in med school, but introverted people are probably more on the minority side given the competitive nature of the game. Not a small minority, but overall more compulsive, forward types prevail and get more attention. HOWEVER I don't necessarily see this as an advantage to be loud and opinionated, it might get you a few higher grades and get things done faster but it might shortcut other things such as your sympathy and thoughtfulness...I think its a fine balance that needs to be adjusted for everyone. There are a lot of different personalities I'm happy to say, and the nice thing is that the specialties vary so greatly as to afford a place for ANY type of person based on your needs and dislikes. You should not avoid medicine because you are different than the vocal majority. Overall there seems to be a perception that I am an "older" type...I didn't think I was THAT old (28), just a couple years older than my mates due to the fact that I took 5 years to complete undergrad as well as taking a 2 year hiatus as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). I feel like I am perceived as older by others since I'm relatively sedate adn have a receding hairline (which I hate) but I am trying hard to be "younger" and live out the adolescence I never had...but that's another story Dr. Freud. Question: I think you are being hard on yourself referring to a "personality defect". Try to think of this as an opportunity for personal growth...and support. Your introspective style will probably serve you well in this undertaking. Answer" Thanks, I was kind of kidding when I said being shy/introverted is a defect, but I do think I get that impression from others, constantly being told to speak up and try to talk more. I only say what needs to be said, I like to think before I talk. I definitely see this as a strength as well, just doesn't serve me well in the current situation. I am definitely growth as a person parallels my training as a physician...I'm very thankful to have such a challenging road to force me to know myself and the world better.

Latest News from Brandon Sent 1-3-2002

You know its a good day on the job when you feel like a spineless, bumbling, blathering fool. Today was my first full day on medicine service. After navigating through the maze of floors I found my senior resident, who is a very nice woman from Europe (so is one of the interns on our team, I gather). There are four teams of docs that take turns taking admissions and managing call. My team has an attending, one senior res, two juniors, and me! Its great being the only student...nobody else to compare myself to and feel bad or too good about myself. Generally I am pretty hard on myself so I never let myself feel like I am doing to good, which can be both a good and bad trait. I started following 3 patients today, one with malignant hypertension, one with acute intermittent porphyria (what was that again? Maybe you first year students can remind me...I had to memorize that in biochem. See...all those diseases really do exist!) and one with hyponatremia and dementia. Each case is pretty complicated and I feel like a fool trying to even understand what some of the tests and their significance are much less try to interpret them. You have to know so much basic science, especially physiology, to calculate values such as correcting for sodium etc. which I really need to review. Fortunately the resident I followed was SUPER nice and gave me a huge break and led me through a lot of things, even post call. The residents are all great, that makes a big difference. The highlight of the day was being told by one patient that I was the first person to sit down and actually talk to them and explain things to them since he was there. I don't follow as many patients so I have the time to do that. The thought of managing more than a couple patients makes me nervous now, but Im sure I will grow into it. Baby steps. Vanilla custard was (and is) my favorite baby food. On a personal note I am calling the school counseling services to get help for an apparent personality defect (?). I keep getting comments about being too quiet and not aggressive enough and not appearing motivated enough despite what I thought were my best genuine efforts. The medical system doesn't reward those who are more introspective and reserved in nature, I guess. I need to get to the heart of that, since my grades have really not been up to my standard as a direct result of such evaluations. Its no longer about the right answers, its about how you portray yourself and how you make others around you feel, despite what you subjectively think. Sucks, but its an aspect of myself that I am now forced to confront. Its all good, I keep telling myself....

Note Posted 4/7/2000

My Mom got a call from Dad this morning from the ICU and he said he was fine and that he wanted to tell his kids he loved them.  The doctors say he is fine and should recover well.  Everyone is hanging in there.  I hope to talk to him later today.  Hope you are all well--we have a winter storm here today (and yesterday it was sixty five degrees!).  Talk to you later.

Note Posted 3/21/2000

I am just relaxing in my jamies in my apartment for a little spring break. Since I am probably going home for the summer, I opted to hang out here and party (i.e. sleep) while everyone is out boozing.  I just wanted to let you know that I have a website that I am creating for myself for people to check into--hope you can link it up to the family site.  I hope to get a more regular family update going on with my activities.  Things are going well--just lots of studying and relaxing in alternating times.  Pretty boring from the outside view, actually, but I am loving what I am learning and can't wait to apply it.  Have a good week.  Thanks for keeping the site so updated!

Brandon R. Barton or