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doc2doc interviews... sken
What made you want to be a doctor?
Whilst at university reading history, I took a year off to drift and think about what to do with my life. I thought about a whole range of alternatives but Medicine seemed to offer so much more than anything else educationally - as well as being less selfish. Financial aspects never entered the equation – it was only much later that I found doctors are so well paid.
Why did you choose your specialty?
After a major flirtation with psychiatry and neurology , I returned to my first love of gut and liver disease , with frequent on-call commitment to general medicine. These seem to provide the widest range of human experience and crucially also require a variety of practical hands on skills. Research years with the MRC just confirmed that I was a clinician at heart. I was incredibly fortunate with job opportunities and in working with some outstanding clinicians as role-models.
What has been your best moment in medicine?
Best moment in medicine must be meeting my wife (also a medic). Second to that I would rank working as a consultant with some outstanding junior doctors but as a team. They helped to make some of the rough times seem worthwhile.
And your worst?
Looking after dying or desperately sick teenagers and knowing that whatever is done is likely to be inadequate and I will be responsible. Some harrowing moments remain harrowing as the years pass.
What advice would you give prospective doctors?
No man is an island and the same applies to any organ in the body. Never forget that Medicine is a global education. Never forget the patient as a person – and don’t expect a sensible work-life balance if you wish to explore your limits and live on the edge. Just wish you could have the opportunities I had
What’s been your favourite doc2doc discussion of all time?
There are too many good discussions on doc2doc to single out just one but the best are those that allow an interplay between the generations and different interests. We should ask why new good ideas failed last time round – there are remarkably few really new ideas?
What do you do since retiring from medicine?
Since retiring I have continued my active support for assisted dying for the terminally ill. It seems crazy that we are obsessed with prolonging existence rather than with the quality of both life and death. Outdoors I remain active (cycling, windsurfing, log splitting etc…). Indoors, Medicine still ranks high amongst my interests –but I also find computer games excellent for maintaining hand eye co-ordination. I am told I have grown old before I have grown up.