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Residency Ophthalmology, Surgery

No one knows it when it happens, but we never forget it when it does, defining moments, those few instances in time when our destiny is laid out before us. It was while growing up in a rural village in India. My father was our village's first doctor and had served the community admirably. However, my father fell into alcoholism, and watching his decline; I felt an odd mixture of feelings about him and his work. Finally, my father's catharsis was my revelation. Upon seeing my father, a visiting doctor, a veritable stranger, recommended a program in our local hospital to get my father off of alcohol, a program my father succeeded in and operated a successful pharmaceutical distribution business. My father's successes in overcoming alcoholism and his career have been truly inspirational. My brother and I are seeking employment in medicine, and we've also encouraged others through community programs to pursue treatment. This endeavor earned me an Emerging Leader Award from the RSB community for services rendered for educating youth in the community.

Even before being introduced to Ophthalmology in my rotations, I took my grandfather to see an Ophthalmologist. I was fascinated by the doctor's ability to see a wealth of information in my grandfather's eyes: a recent change in eating habits, a stroke, assessing the entire body's overall functioning from peering into our most fascinating and outwardly beautiful organ. Then, I decided to develop myself as a doctor of Ophthalmology. I was convinced that Ophthalmology was a specialty in which a patient is treated as an emotional and physical totality. While our vision is one more miracle of life that we take for granted, it is the one sense they would least like to live without too many people.

My medical education has been rich and varied and began with XXXX Medical College of XXXX University, a top-ten university in India with a worldwide reputation. Admission to Kasturba is fiercely competitive and based solely on academic merit. Throughout my rotations with XXXX, I was consistently drawn to Ophthalmology. My teachers introduced the specialty in a manner that was clear and, to my mind, beautiful, explaining the extraordinary process by which our sight is granted. Light in the form of photons is partly absorbed by objects and partially reflected. As this reflection enters our eyes, one of nature's greatest miracles occurs: the light becomes an electrical impulse, then converted into a chemical substance and transmitted to our brain, which then processes this chemical to create a perceived image.

My foundation in Surgery proved invaluable during my Ophthalmology rotation. Not only did I diagnose over a thousand patients, successfully identifying problems ranging from refractive errors to glaucoma and retinoblastoma, but I assisted in at least a dozen cataract surgeries every day of that posting. This rotation, more than any other, impressed upon me that this is where my true passion and talents lie. To restore or improve a person's vision through corrective surgery is to add an invaluable quality of life, and I believe it is my gift to provide such care. I give back to my community, volunteering my time with eye camps across the state and helping paramedics diagnose cataracts, trachoma, and other infectious eye diseases. On a personal note, my ambidexterity, developed over the years through my passion for painting, will aid me immeasurably in surgical ophthalmology situations. Upon graduating, I joined the XXXX Institute of Medical Sciences as a faculty member. While my duties were with general medicine and surgical specialties, time and again, my feet would lead me to the Ophthalmology department. In my own time, I expanded my clinical acumen to include Ophthalmoscopic examination skills, especially the dilated fundus examination, and learned of the widespread diseases afflicting the eye. I intend to conduct research into the various ailments afflicting the retina and cornea, those areas in which corrective surgeries are usually most effective. I am no stranger to research, having led a team of five interns while researching the incidence of Hepatitis-B among paramedical staff in India. Additionally, I have been a Research Assistant for my head of department, collecting data and statistics from medical records within our hospital.

I was impressed by the need for meticulous attention to detail required in research work and am glad I have had the experience. Any good doctor knows that prevention is better than cure, and I used my latest position to the most significant advantage to accomplish this aim. As a Resident Medical Doctor with XXXX Hospital, I organized mobile eye camps, giving the more rural populations access to tertiary health care, and was able to screen patients from the general population. In addition to these outreach programs, I assisted senior doctors in cataract surgeries, enucleation, and squint surgeries in hundreds of instances. Overall, though, my experiences with XXXX Hospital have helped me practice and perfect my basic clinical skills and gain invaluable surgical theatre experience. I have a thorough background in in-patient and out-patient medicine, conducting regular duties, suturing episiotomies, and efficiently managing trauma and emergency cases. With experience comes greater responsibility, and I'm proud to have been the only resident authorized by our Chief Surgeon to manage and handle patients in ICU.

I have a desire to be a part of a more stimulating and challenging system of education that emphasizes thinking, and that does not stifle merit and creativity. For me, the right path has been answering questions like What am I good at?; what do I like doing?; which Institution can foster the kind of knowledge I have gained in the Kasturba Medical College?; am I aiming sufficiently high? Or have I forgotten Joel Hawes's famous words, Aim at the sun, and you may not reach it, but your arrow will fly far higher than when aimed at an object on a level with yourself?

My objectives in joining a residency program in Ophthalmology are clear-cut. I want to acquire competence in the discipline chosen and acquire it in-depth. I want to hone my intellectual faculties; ask questions fearlessly and seek answers with persistence; to develop individuality and conviviality, and learn for collective good. I can achieve these objectives only in the right environment, and in the program offered for study in your institution. I also believe that I have better chances of updating and scaling up my knowledge in your facility.

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