Author: Matthew Trifan

Matthew Trifan (5 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Temple University School of Medicine


Matt Trifan is a Class of 2017 student at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple. He hails from a family of immigrant physicians and is interested in practicing Emergency Medicine. In his free time, he reads, writes, travels, and never misses a chance for brunch. He owes his life philosophy to Albert Camus and Adventure Time.




Paging Sisyphus

In my third year of medical school, I was taking care of an elderly patient who had been in and out of the hospital multiple times in one month. Upon his third admission, my exasperated attending threw up his hands and said, “Who am I, Sisyphus?” I understood how he felt. Like the mythological Greek king rolling his boulder up the hill — only to have it roll back down again, ad infinitum — no matter what we did to manage this patient, he always returned to the hospital sicker than before.

The Making of an American Doctor

Not long ago, I was on duty in the emergency department, sewing up a kid’s lacerated hand. He was ten years old and terrified. I had to make all kinds of promises to numb him up before starting. As I cajoled him, I had the strangest sense of déjà vu. I realized that I had lived through the same experience myself — as a young boy sitting in my kitchen with a torn up hand, having careened on roller-skates into a pile of rocks. Only the doctor had been my father, and he had coaxed and pleaded with me just like I was doing now.

The Silver Lining

We stood in the shadows, a staggered line of nurses, students and surgeons in matching blue scrubs and masks. It was the middle of the night. Our tired bodies sagged against the walls, our bloodshot eyes dancing between the clock above and the gasping life below. A young man was dying in the operating room. He lay on the cutting table with his arms splayed wide, like a martyred saint stretched upon the cross.

Dead in Traffic: Reflections on Gross Anatomy

Cadaver. The word itself seems devoid of life. And, so too does the white plastic bag lying unceremoniously before me. It’s the first day of anatomy, and I unzip the tarp and stare down at a wet, grey lump of clay. There it is. There is what, exactly? What was I expecting? Some warm human soul, freshly sprung from the loins of life? No. That’s not this. The essence of life is gone — absolutely, irrevocably, unquestionably, gone.

Matthew Trifan (5 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Temple University School of Medicine


Matt Trifan is a Class of 2017 student at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple. He hails from a family of immigrant physicians and is interested in practicing Emergency Medicine. In his free time, he reads, writes, travels, and never misses a chance for brunch. He owes his life philosophy to Albert Camus and Adventure Time.