January 2016 | Eanáir 2016

Clinical Elective at CancerCare Manitoba

Thu, 21 January 16 18:29

The 2015 Dr Nicholas and Mrs Maura Martin Scholarship was awarded to Mr Reetesh Bose (Stage 3 Graduate Entry Medicine) which allowed him to undertake a clinical elective in paediatric haematology and oncology at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.  We reproduce Reetesh’s report on the elective experience below.

First, I just want to graciously thank the donors to the Dr Nicholas and Mrs Maura MartinMartin Scholarship and the UCD School of Medicine for organizing the International Electives Competition. This scholarship gave me the opportunity to study in Canada and learn about an area of medicine that I have become deeply interested in, children’s cancers.

After doing a rotation in Children’s Cancers at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, I just had to experience more. I travelled to Winnipeg, Manitoba, which serves the children of the city, but also the aboriginal populations who are underserved, and face many physical, mental, and social hardships. It was truly rewarding to learn about this amazing specialty while helping children, the future of our society.

It was on this elective, while on the bone marrow transplant service, that I met AR, a rambunctious, rosy-cheeked toddler, who suffered from a severe form of red blood cell disorder called spherocytosis. She was very ill and had not responded to traditional therapies.  We performed a bone marrow transplant to try and give her a chance at a normal life. Caring for her after her transplant showed me her resilience and passion for life; it was truly inspiring. It made clear to me my desire to help children and their families through difficult times such as this. During this month-long elective, I cared for many children like AR and this absolutely solidified my desire to care for children as a medical career.

The elective was based at CancerCare Manitoba. I worked with children’s cancers, blood disorders, and bone marrow transplants. The experiences were vast, and the clinical teams were excellent. The medical care was amazing, and the children and families are treated exceptionally. It was a surreal experience to be involved with some of the happiest and saddest times of people’s lives. I learned so much more than simply medical sciences while on this elective and I am thankful for it.

Studying medicine at the University College Dublin has been a fantastic, eye-opening experience, but it is international involvement, such as with this elective, that gives students a breadth of knowledge and appreciation for other healthcare systems. Having a first-hand understanding of other cultures and medical systems is how excellent, compassionate, and versatile physicians are made. There is so much to learn from other countries, which will truly strengthen the practice of medicine, here in Ireland.

The Dr Nicholas and Mrs Maura MartinScholarship was established in 2009 in memory of Dr Nicholas Martin (BDS 1945, MB BCh BAO 1947) and Mrs Josephine Mary (Maura) Martin, nee Bugler (BDS 1950) by their children, Professor Paul Martin (MB BCh BAO 1978), Professor Una Martin (MB BCh BAO 1983) to celebrate and honour their parents’ life work in the field of medicine.  We are indebted to the Martin family and to the UCD Foundation for providing international clinical elective opportunities such as this one.