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Growing up in Ghana, in the mid to late 90s I watched with glee and utmost wonder space shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral on our family’s tiny 14 inch TV. I was captivated by space travel and its odyssey into this partially sunlit infinite space we call our solar system. This curiosity fueled my desire to become the first Ghanaian astronaut. The admiration of sheer brainpower coupled with human determination helped to model such a desire. I adopted life-changing traits such as diligence, courage and teamwork from admiring famous astronauts. Such traits formed the foundation of my life goals in finding solutions to the most perplexing problems that face the human race.
My infatuation with astronomy was superseded by my current love for clinical medicine 13 years ago in high school when I suffered a bout of severe malaria with gastroenteritis complicated with electrolyte imbalance, which warranted a weeklong hospital admission. The adeptness and care of the attending doctor and nurses in my deteriorated physical state roused my interest in this field. The medical team’s swiftness to my poor clinical state in the emergency room to the meticulous approach by the attending physician to arrive at the confirmed diagnosis further grounded this new found desire to tackle one of man’s greatest foes: Malady. The doctor carefully explained the pathophysiology and management of my condition with such poise that I craved for more of the knowledge concerning my condition and developed an ever-growing wish to assume such a role of a live saver. I made priceless observations such as a care to detail approach, professionalism and a strong work ethic during my process of healing; traits that I employ in my life and line of duty.
I had the opportunity of participating in a clinical elective in Palliative Care and Neuro-oncology at Tufts Medical Centre in my final year of medical school. The provision of palliative care in Ghana was in its genesis and my experience during my elective was an eye opener to a prior unexplored area of medicine. My supervisor, an exceptionally brilliant Attending patiently oriented and helped to explore the different facets of end of life care and hospice management. Furthermore I gained a better understanding of a patient’s goals for care, pain and non-pain symptom management, interconnected psychosocial issues and aiding with complex medical decision-making. These were essential tools I needed to help navigate a complex health system. Emphasis on a holistic approach to improve overall quality of life was the bedrock of my experience. Although an emotionally tasking experience, this tremendously helped my growth as a health care provider and further galvanized my goal to undertake a residency program in Internal Medicine.
During my emergency cover shift as a House Officer in Internal Medicine, I helped managed an astonishing case of small cell carcinoma with pleural effusion in a 30-year-old female. The case was quite perplexing because all known risk factors were virtually nonexistent in the work up. My quest to alleviate her suffering led to a continual commitment to her care. From perusing literature on her condition, ward case discussions, wheeling her for multiple Computerized Tomography scans, performing a thoracotomy with chest drainage under supervision with a resident to being an ever-present source of conversation about fashion and soccer at her bedside. I was at the forefront of assisting in providing end of life care and improving her quality of life. Her countenance in time of pain amplified those traits such as compassion, humility and passion for patient care.
The field of Internal Medicine promises a lifetime of rewarding experiences for which I’m excited to be at the frontline. I do not seek to be a mere participant in this journey but to lead the vanguard in reaching the uncharted frontiers of medicine. My desire is to pursue a fellowship in Radiation Oncology and Palliative Care at the completion of my residency program. Being a part of your program with its reputation and track record of academic excellence and clinical training will prepare me adequately to fulfill this aspiration and I believe I have the requisite attributes to succeed in your residency program.
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