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RESIDENCY PERSONAL STATEMENT #4
At 3 am, the phone snapped me from my sleep. On the other end, my best friend was screaming, "My baby is not moving, do something." Shaking with terror, I rushed to her place to find her three-month-old daughter, Aisha, motionless in bed. She was not breathing, so we wrapped her up and carried her to the nearest hospital where pediatricians immediately began CPR. We watched as they struggled to save her. Thirty minutes later, they declared Silent Infant Death Syndrome the cause of death. Witnessing this intimate struggle left me numb with pain, but also with a deep sense of human fragility. This incident played a significant role in my decision to enter pediatrics.
In medical school, I got my first taste of pediatrics while nursing sick children to health. I spent most of my free time in the wards and NICU interacting with my young patients and going through their treatment records. Their enthusiasm and love made me long to return each day. Always interested in education and community outreach, I also participated in school health check-ups and polio camps organized by my institution. Meanwhile, at the HIV Counseling Center, my colleagues and I were involved in educating and helping pregnant women and children.
After graduation, I provided primary healthcare to forty-two villages in rural India with a total population of 33,000. Aside from my outpatient care and ward duties, I was also responsible for the fulfillment of national health programs established by the World Health Organization, such as the Pulse Polio, Maternal and Child Health, and Universal Immunization programs. I took keen interest in following women through pregnancy, delivery, and the post-natal period, all while emphasizing the importance of regular well-child check-ups, immunizations, and growth charts. Well aware of the sensitive and emotional problems faced by today's youth, I also organized camps and lectures on sex education and sexually transmitted diseases.
Serving this underprivileged population made me appreciate the quality and complexity of healthcare issues today and inspired me study healthcare policy on a global level. I also learned to deal with a variety of patients from various economic, social and cultural backgrounds. While working with various non-profit organizations, I came across many mentally challenged, deaf and autistic children. After undergoing a training course, I learned how to communicate and work with such patients. Being able to give these patients a more positive outlook on their lives and to bring smiles to their faces has been incredibly rewarding.
While my decision to be a pediatrician is a coalescence of several driving forces, perhaps the most important is my admiration for children, their innocence and their unselfish love. My passion for knowledge and education has made me realize that a pediatrician is a unique blend of both healthcare provider and educator. As a pediatrician, I will guide parents through the developmental stages of childhood and educate them about preventive measures. By providing anticipatory guidance, I will be able to help them enjoy the process of raising their children free of anxiety. In this way, I do more that treat sick children.
Based on my life experiences, I know that I have the determination, resilience, strength and compassion to make a world of difference to my young patients. I am drawn to the strong healthcare system and advanced technology of America, and I believe that expanding my knowledge base and gaining experience there will help me to become a more well-rounded and confident pediatrician. I intend to take full advantage of my educational and research opportunities, acquiring knowledge that will allow me to heal patients and train others interested in pediatrics.