“This experience and the work I do reminds me of the importance of volunteering your time and expertise in areas that have little to no access to medical help,” said Dr Jaweed. With many years in neurosurgery under his belt, clinical specialist and Taylor’s University’s School of Medicine senior lecturer Dr Jaweed finds that resilience and determination is key.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shed light on what it really takes to be in healthcare.
While the profession enjoys many benefits and oftentimes high praise, the belief in service to humanity would often prevail against the distress and burnout faced by today’s medical practitioners.
While most aspiring medical students focus their attention on getting into a reputable medical school, surviving the career is just as vital.
According to clinical specialist and Taylor’s University’s School of Medicine senior lecturer Dr Mohammad Jaweed, his experiences have shown him what it really takes to be a doctor.
He knew his calling early in life – to be a part of someone’s healing journey and bring back the meaning of fulfilment into their lives.
Heeding the call, he went on to pursue his specialisation in surgery, and then neurosurgery.
However, in recent years he has dedicated his time in four areas – clinical work, academia, research and volunteerism while at the university.
“During my days off, I enjoy doing volunteer work and travel to remote parts of the world, where medical resources are scarce, and lend a hand to the community.
“I feel it is important to extend my services because it is an uncommon skill in these parts of the world, and access to medical care is often expensive and difficult due to the long waiting list,” he said.
His specialisation provided him the opportunity to serve underdeveloped nations.
In 2018, Dr Jaweed travelled to Kandahar, a province in Afghanistan, on a three-day humanitarian mission to examine and screen infants for hydrocephalus (an abnormal build-up of fluid within the brain) and spina bifida (a birth defect when the spine does not fully develop) at a small district called Arghandab, which is also a conflict zone.
When he was there, he came across a 27-year-old farmer who complained of pain on the lower right side of his body.
“He was in pain for four weeks, and upon further investigation, we found he had been given antibiotics via injection and a dose meant for bigger animals, due to the man’s larger stature, by a veterinarian – the only person with medical knowledge in the village and a makeshift doctor among its people.
“This news was shocking and the effects were severe. There was damage to his right ureter because of the injection, which was the pain site, and his kidney was extremely swollen, requiring immediate attention.
“I had to refer him to the hospital and request for an urgent decompression to release the pressure before he loses his right kidney and assess his left before having to depend on dialysis.
“This experience and the work I do reminds me of the importance of volunteering your time and expertise in areas that have little to no access to medical help.
“We were not allowed to stay longer, but this encounter helped me assess my communication skills to a community where knowledge of medical sciences is even lower. It is a trait I emphasise with my students and patients during my classes or consultation.”
With many years in neurosurgery under his belt, he said that resilience and determination is key.
“It’s a long process to get into neurosurgery, as it is a subspecialty of surgery. Determination is one of the key traits to possess because we have a shorter response time and sometimes the hours are long, with lesser time for rest in-between,” he said.
Keen to answer your call of duty to save lives? Join in the annual Taylor’s Future Movement, with eight weeks of activities here.
This article was first published in thestar.com on 11 July 2021
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