Why did you choose your particular specialty?
Our hands allow us to work, play, create and express ourselves; and hand and wrist anatomy is both complex and intricate. Hand surgery sits at the interface of orthopaedic and plastic surgery, and hand surgeons have to treat a wide variety of problems – affecting bones and joints but also tendons, nerves and soft tissues. This combination of variety and anatomical complexity made hand surgery irresistible!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I do enjoy the technical aspects of the surgery and the satisfaction of a job well done, but more satisfying even than that is the ability to communicate effectively with patients in my clinic – explaining what might be complicated problems, and empowering each patient to make as informed a decision as possible about their own treatment.
What one thing do you wish every member of the public knew?
That, for anything more than the most straightforward hand operations, the quality of post-operative hand therapy can be as important to the outcome as the quality of the surgery itself.
What three traits define you?
Compassion, calmness and attention to detail (or as my wife would put it, being fussy!)
Who is your inspiration?
I have been very lucky and have had a number of great teachers and mentors throughout my career. I will never forget working for the eminent shoulder surgeon Paul Calvert, while a junior trainee at St George’s Hospital in 2001. His dedication to his patients was exemplary, and he was a fantastic educator.
What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Over the last few years I have become a member of the Working Hands Charity team (www.workinghandscharity.org). This project has been running at centres in India, and more recently Nepal, for the past 16 years, led by the indefatigable hand surgeon Donald Sammut. We go to Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital in Nepal each year for 10 days to offer surgical treatment to the hands of patients affected mostly by leprosy, but also by burns and other problems. The programme is also targeted at creating sustainable links with, and training to, a plastic/hand surgery unit in Kathmandu, so that work can continue throughout the year.
If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
There are a few options here. I could plump for being an executive chef at a leading London restaurant – but I think I would rather be a restaurant critic for a national newspaper!
What advances in medicine are you most excited about?
There are really promising advances being made in the design of joint replacements for the hand and wrist, which have yet to be as successful or reliable as hip or knee replacements.
What (health) app would you most recommend?
myHealthSpecialist, of course!
Read Mr Sam GIdwani’s latest article: “Snowboarder’s wrist” – the prevention and treatment of common fractures around the wrist