Medicine runs in the Diegel family

2012-08-01T12:30:00Z Medicine runs in the Diegel familyMatt DeBow, Lebanon Express Lebanon Express
August 01, 2012 12:30 pm  • 

Two brothers will study together at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest next year.

Julien Diegel, 25, just completed his first year at COMP-Northwest, in Lebanon.

“I had the chance to be in the charter class (here), which is the minor difference between us,” Julien said.

His older brother, Justin Diegel, 27, will join him in Lebanon, having spent the last two years at COMP, Pomona campus, Calif.

The brothers grew up in Redmond.

Their dad, Jim Diegel, is the CEO for the St. Charles Health System in Central Oregon, which encompasses four hospitals.

Justin has always had an interest in the medical field, although he didn’t know he wanted to become a doctor until later in college.

“I was thinking nursing or something related,” Justin said.

For Julien, medical school has been a goal school since high school.

“I had a pretty good idea coming into college that I was going to go to medical school,” Julien said. “It was just which path was I going to take to get there.”

Julien didn’t have much advice to give to his brother about living in Lebanon because he just moved here from Eugene.

“What I can tell just from the little experience is it’s a small community, and it’s very tight-knit, a very community-based sort of town,” Julien said. “What’s really nice is the school is tied in with the community.”

As part of that community, Julien volunteered with the Lebanon Health Career Ladder at COMP-Northwest.

The program takes middle school students and introduces them to different health careers.

Justin uses his experiences at COMP to help his younger brother get through the same courses.

“I’m constantly giving him advice,” Justin said. “He’s always asking about certain classes, but it’s things that I’ve stumbled over that I try to tell him: don’t do that or do this.”

Justin is unsure about what medical field he wants to pursue.

He enjoys radiology, but also enjoys family medicine and pediatrics.

Julien thinks he may end up pursuing family practice because of the social aspect, and he wants to stay in contact with patients on a long-term basis.

The third and fourth years of medical school are crucial in making the decision, he said, because that’s when students go out into the field.

“You can really see if you’re going to enjoy something,” Julien said “Or if you’re going to be good at it, and have talent in it. So I’ll wait till then, but for now, I’m leaning toward family practice.”

During their summer break, they have been playing a lot of disc golf in Waterloo.

“I’m trying to soak up the last summer of my life,” Julien said.

For the next few summers, Julien will be busy studying for his board exams, which is what Justin is doing.

It hasn’t been all play for Julien this summer.

He joined Brion Benninger, M.D., at a medical conference in Grenada, where he gave a keynote speech about pericardiocentesis, a technique to aspirate fluid build-up around the heart.

“There’s a condition where fluid will accumulate around the heart and prevent it from beating,” Julien said. “You basically stick a needle right next to their heart — not into the heart — and you’re supposed to aspirate this (fluid) out.”

This technique is vaguely defined in medical literature, Julien said.

“Dr. Benninger and I came up with a clearly defined, anatomically guided, consistent approach that individuals can use,” Julien said.

He was awarded the Ralph Ger Award for his presentation in Grenada.

Justin is on track to graduate in 2013; Julien will graduate in 2015 with the first class of students from COMP-Northwest.

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