Today, I would like to take a break from my usual “professional” blog writing and use this platform to share my recent source of inspiration and a new found admiration to the meaning of selflessness in healthcare.
Someone once asked me, “What is your passion in life? What are your current career goals? Have you achieved what you planned to achieve at this stage in life?” I have always been an ambitious individual and a clear career path as to what I would like to achieve in my many stages of life. As we all know the old script “Join a company, work hard, move up the corporate ladder”. As a healthcare professional myself, we always believe that the closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else, especially those who are in need of our compassion and empathy. While these questions were not new to me, I could not help but pondered where my future path would lead me, what am I passionate about? I have long admired the work of healthcare professionals. As a child, my muse in healthcare has always been and still is my mother. She has been a dedicated and aspiring Occupational Therapist for the past 25 years. As I am currently working within the healthcare industry for nearly a decade, I’ve seen doctors and health practitioners bringing miraculous impact to the lives of many patients and work hand-in-hand to deliver the meaning of care.
Being my curious self, I could not help but enquire “what are your passion in life as a General Surgeon?” Seeing the excitement as you share your stories on the experiences and surgeries you have performed during your time in the public healthcare service has brought me to an unequivocal conclusion: This is an addiction, a powerful emotional experience that fuels you when all the hard work and dedication is rewarded as patients recover and have a second chance in life. It is a pull that you could not resist, a continuous loop of adrenaline rush you needed in your life. Your passion and interest in the hopes that within the next 10 years you would be able to contribute in charity healthcare and humanitarian work has inspired me to understand more about Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or in English, Doctors Without Borders was founded in 1971 by a group of French Surgeons who worked in the Biafra secession crisis for the International Committee of the Red Cross and today MSF is an International Non-government Humanitarian Organization that provides emergency medical assistance in situation such as armed conflict, natural disasters, epidemics, pandemics and famines.
MSF also provides long-term actions during prolonged conflict or chronic instability in the context of assisting refugees in case of disasters. There are currently more than 65,000 MSF workers in more than 72 countries, of which 80% are staffs who are citizens of the host country; and the remaining 20% are volunteer expatriates. MSF’s mission is to provide humanitarian relief to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect or catastrophe. Medical personnel and support teams dispatched by the MSF are volunteer surgeons from diverse specialty, physicians, supported by a team of nurses, mental health workers, pharmacist, midwives, lab technicians, logistics, administrative staffs, sanitation workers and others.
MSF is also well known for their rapid response in times of crisis as advance medical team will be sent to identify what help is required and often dispatch medical teams to remote areas with advanced supplies and medical equipment. MSF holds a strong policy with regards to denouncing actions that goes against basic human rights. Surgeons, healthcare support staffs and volunteer workers around the world have been supporting this humanitarian organization for the past 40 years as they stand by the organization’s shared vision of providing basic healthcare aid to anyone in need with the highest standards of medical ethics.
After much reading and researching, my appreciation and understanding of why healthcare professionals around the world do what they do in the name of selflessness in healthcare has enhanced my perception on the importance of primary care, as well as the compassion and medical aid that our community requires during this recent pandemic outbreak. With the sole purpose of helping those in need, healthcare workers embrace the challenges of leaving the comfort and familiarity of a hospital setting into an entirely different surrounding, but never forgetting their passion and dedication to serve in healthcare.
Doctors without Borders has made me understand your passion, dedication and selflessness as a general surgeon. The desire to make medical care your life’s work and stretching your boundaries of performance is limitless, but for many it is a vision that seems unrealistic and impossible to achieve. I hope your story could aspire many more enthusiastic and ambitious doctors in following your footsteps to pursue what they dream of achieving in their lifetime within the field of healthcare.
“If you were given the opportunity, would you become a surgeon if you could choose again?”