When deer hits man, DMU students respond

Off and running: DMU faculty, students and mobile clinic were ready to help runners at Living History Farms.

Marcus Voss and Pooja Gottumukkala wouldn’t have wished it upon their worst enemy. But if someone had to get kicked in the head by a deer, they were glad they were there.

The two were among the 12 DMU students who joined the medical team volunteers staffing the 39th annual Living History Farms Off-Road Race in mid-November. The race is a fundraiser for this 500-acre outdoor attraction that tells the 300-year story of Midwest farming. Runners, many of whom wear crazy costumes, must traverse creeks, hills, fallen trees and other obstacles along the rugged course.

Marcus, Pooja, classmate Taylor Sanders and Noreen O’Shea, D.O., FAAFP, assistant professor of behavioral medicine, were standing near a curve in the race course when they heard a scream and a ruckus. Two deer had run across the track; one leapt over a runner, kicking his head in the process.

“I know it sounds bad, but I think for both of us it was awesome to have something happen and be there to help,” Pooja says.

DMU student volunteers included Taylor Sanders, Pooja Gottumukkala, Marcus Voss and Alex Harrison.

That isn’t because she and Marcus are malicious; rather, they share a passion for emergency medicine. Both worked as medical scribes in hospital emergency rooms and as emergency medical technicians before they enrolled in DMU’s osteopathic medical program. They now serve as first-year liaisons in the University’s Emergency Medicine Club.

“As a medical scribe, I got to see patients and do documenting of their conditions. Emergency medicine is fast-paced, and you always get to see different kinds of patients,” Pooja says. “It also showed me what kind of doctor I want to be because I’ve worked with so many.”

Marcus adds that scribing is a good way for people to see whether medicine is the right career for them.

“It gives you a leg up on medical terminology,” he says. “You also get exposure to what works well for some doctors’ personalities.”

As for the Living History Farms deer-hoof victim, the students say he was shocked, dizzy and confused, but fortunately he received first aid by the students and physicians on hand and was then transported to a hospital for further evaluation.

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