My desire to pursue a career in Medicine is in many ways a natural outcome of my upbringing. With both parents qualified doctors, anatomy and the way the body functions became a natural part of our conversation at home and my fascination developed over the years. When I was 15, my mother’s diagnosis of intussusception, caused by a haemangioma in the intestines increased my interest in diseases. I was driven to understand the physiological factors leading to her condition. In my current course, I find Human Physiology and Biochemistry particularly inspiring. Of late, I have been fascinated to study the liver and how erythrocytes are recycled, as well as diseases such as jaundice and PKU, and the Bohr effect
My recent work experience has been truly inspiring. Whilst shadowing a neurosurgeon, I found nothing as thrilling as being in the OR and watching surgeries ranging from lumbar disk hernias to cervical tumour extractions. I was engrossed by how a hernia was caused by a protruding nucleus pulposus applying pressure on nerve roots causing a sciatica. I was awestruck after seeing the sciatic nerve; it was like seeing a famous landmark. After shadowing a dermatologist for a week, I felt confident in my knowledge of vessels and nerves and their relative position on the face, as well as some common cosmetic techniques such as Hyaluronic acid injections and removing moles. Having an interest in computers, the usage of lasers in dermatology and how they worked amazed me.
Through Kalanithi’s autobiography and Kay’s “This is Going to Hurt”, I gained a better insight into the life of a medic – both the rigours and the rewards. I am also excited to enter a profession that embraces scientific advances, such as gene editing. It was fascinating to read about the science of this process, involving CRISPR-Cas9 and indeed the ethical ramifications, in Knoepfler’s ‘GMO Sapiens’. Discovering that this promising technology could be used to eradicate genetic diseases, retroviruses and even cancer is really exciting. I am also drawn to new thinking in the physiological and psychological aspects of trauma, such as the effects of PTSD. Van Der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score” highlighted several fascinating case studies – one, for example, where Broca’s area shut down during a flashback, explaining why people usually are mute during such events; and the way that trauma affects the imagination, Rorschach tests showing that PTSD patients may superimpose their traumatic experiences onto daily events.
Taking a first aid course this term, I have learnt many techniques, such as CPR, the Heimlich manoeuvre and essential skills for a doctor, such as the ability to make rapid decisions and work well under pressure. I also volunteered for Dementia Friends, an association that connected me to elderly sufferers. Talking with them they sometimes appeared not to be listening, but by staying at eye level and calling them by their name, communication became possible. Engaging with them was heart-warming; having someone to talk to made their day. In striking contrast age-wise, I have found it very rewarding to do voluntary teaching work at my school with Year 5 pupils. Outside my academic work I have played basketball for 3 years. As a point guard, I have learnt how to manage individuals’ different skills and bring them together to work coherently.
Although Medicine is clearly a hard career, there is nothing else I would rather pursue and I am truly excited by the prospect of my course. Romanian by birth, I have had the privilege to study in five distinctly different cultures. At the age of 10, I moved to Russia, then Vietnam, the Philippines and finally England. I have needed therefore to adapt to new languages, attitudes and cultural differences and I feel that I have learnt to empathise very quickly with a wide range of people and age groups. All these factors have coalesced into a desire to help humanity by curing illnesses and alleviating suffering.