The pursuit of a career in medicine has been a lifelong dream for me. I inherited a passion for learning and an unwavering commitment to achieving excellence from my academically focused Indian family. Encouraged by the values instilled in me by my parents, I attended and graduated from one of the most prestigious medical colleges in the state of Gujarat in my home country of India. After I completed my education, I dreamt of taking the next step in my medical career in the United States, where I could study the intricate inner workings of the human brain and have the opportunity to contribute to the global advancement of neurological care.
I completed my Internal Medicine residency at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. During my three-year residency, I thoroughly enjoyed living on the West Coast of the United States. Now, as a fellow, I am experiencing life in New York City as well as the suburban lifestyle in New Jersey.
“Is it true that there is an injection for HIV now?”
This is a common question many patients have asked me at the outpatient clinic over the past six months. It felt like a dream come true for most of my patients who had been taking daily medications since their diagnosis. To me as well, it was a remarkable advancement in the treatment of this disease, which has defined much of my J-1 physician training experience thus far.
My journey started in Colombia, my home country, where I attended medical school. After getting my medical degree, I had the opportunity to work with underserved communities. I had to do a lot with little and I came to understand the impact of social disparities on health. The reality of the meager resources available in this environment necessitated that the resourcefulness of physicians was the primary tool to achieve optimal patient care. This experience shaped me into an innovator in the field of medicine. I could not have gotten where I am today without being different and thinking outside the box. I would like to share three moments in my career where this proved true.
When a 33-year-old lies unconscious in front of you, it’s never a good sign. This 33-year-old, female patient was found unresponsive by her family. Despite trying medications for possible reversible causes, she did not wake up. She turned out to be an unfortunate case of catastrophic stroke. By the time I saw her, she had fixed, dilated pupils, no reflexes, and no movements. She was brought to the ICU to do more, only to realize there was nothing more available for her. She was already on a ventilator and the maximum doses of four pressors, which were barely able to keep her BP to 40 systolic. She eventually succumbed to her disease.