It is not uncommon for teenagers in high school to dream of being a doctor or a surgeon some day. Some prepare by taking extra science classes, but Central Valley High School senior Corbin Croom took it a step further. He has already scrubbed in on and observed a dozen surgeries.
His father, a chemical engineer, knew a nurse who worked at Kootenai Medical Center, and asked her if she knew of a surgeon who would let Croom observe. Getting that first surgery set up was difficult, Croom said. There was paperwork to fill out, forms to sign and the doctor’s skepticism to overcome. “It wasn’t too bloody, but it was definitely intense,” Croom said of the first operation he watched. “You don’t touch anything. You stand in your spot.”
Now Croom observes a couple of different surgeons routinely, calling to find out what procedures they have coming up and researching each operation in advance so he can ask questions. “They’re used to seeing me,” he said. “I do understand that I’m a very privileged high school student.”
It all started back in the sixth grade when Croom was living in Texas and a neighbor gave him a book on human anatomy. “I just found it fascinating,” he said.
While he’s determined to do as much as he can to achieve his dream, Croom has certainly made time for other things. He played baseball for two years and is in the marching band. He was a percussionist in the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band in January. He went to Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama in 2010. Last summer he attended the National Youth Leadership Forum in Boston.
“I’m a huge believer in if you see the opportunity, take it,” he said. “It may turn out to be something very fantastic.”
Even though he’s regularly on the honor roll and is currently taking three advanced placement classes, Croom said he doesn’t consider himself the smartest of the bunch. “I am in no way a top academic student,” he said. “I would consider myself a semi-intelligent fellow.”
Croom already has his plans for the future made. This summer he’s attending the National Youth Leadership Forum again, this time in Los Angeles, and has arranged to observe a doctor in Long Beach, Calif., for two weeks. Then it’s off to Oklahoma Baptist University, where he’ll study pre-med with an emphasis in biology.
He hasn’t decided whether he wants to be a general surgeon or have a specialty. Croom said he has college, medical school and five years of residency before he has to decide. “It’s many years,” he said. “I’ve got a long way. I have so many years to decide what I want to be, who I want to be.”
They key to his success is that he always gives his best, he said. “I would consider myself a very driven person. Always go for the best. If you’re not going for the best, why try?”