Saturday, July 19, 2014

An inspiring talk to share - Puncture

Just an  update: Ok, I am finally back from the holiday trip around the west coast of Malaysia, this time my holiday ends for real (not like my previous post) because I have been blessed with an opportunity to work with professors from UM and University of Aberdeen on geriatrics, which is undoubtedly, the next big thing. It is quoted that, more than 1% of the world will be more than 90 years old by 2050. So yes, I guess it is time I spend some effort looking into this field, before I start my own research project next year and the clinical school. On weekends, I will help out at the roadshows of the National Kidney Foundation, doing some public education work. So it will be a busy busy month coming up! Funny how excited I am to work after being on holiday for 2 months. But really, I have to thank my college's Caius Medical Association for this opportunity. To completely ease the financial burden, they have given me a generous sum of grant for my summer work on a last minute notice. So glad that I can stop thinking about saving every single penny and having to squeeze on the public transport, probably since 5am every morning to get to work. From now on, I shall stop whining about their greediness. 
Thank you, Gonville and Caius College.

Through our syllabus in ethics and law, we have learned that the major progress in the medical world were done...usually through a series of accidents and coincidences. Like Alexander Flemming's penicillin. Like the mysterious yet debilitating schizophrenia's treatment - clozapine. Like tuberculosis' vaccine. I will not bore you with the medical history here, but if you care to read about it (or if you wanna talk about it with me, feel free to email me! :) ), it is all discovered not by deliberate work of sciences. Even the tracing of source of cholera outbreak in Soho, London in 1854 by John Snow is, strictly speaking, a work of epidemiology, rather than work of labs.

The milestones in medical history has really been dotted with accidents and public health, no matter how scientists like to boast it is the fruit of their intelligence and their diligence in the lab, the precision of their measurement and the advancement of technology. However, it is of course not right to throw science completely out of the window. I believe science do contribute to the birth of these 'accidents' and public health development too. And in modern days, work of scientists do help make our life better, in every small but significant way in our daily life.

I would like to share how a young scientist manage to solve, arguably, the most dangerous step in many medical procedures and surgeries, that has been bugging doctors and surgeons for more than a century. And I have jotted down part of his speech as below because he reminded me of why I am doing what I am doing today and what I had written down in my personal statement when I applied to study Medicine:

"...and it proved to me that my idea worked if I just spend the next couple year on this project. I worked on this because this problem really fascinated me, I mean, it kept me up at night."

"If you come across a problem that grabs you, let it keep you up at night, allow yourself to be fascinated, because there are so many lives to save" 


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