In my experience, only some people find a profession that enables them to apply their natural skills and satisfies their highest aspirations. Pediatric cardiology has provided me with this combination, and I feel blessed. Since the first time I used a stethoscope during clinical rotations, I have been especially fascinated with those subtle sounds of the heart that allow us to discern and identify structural pathologies. I quickly developed a perfect ‘ear’ for the clues those sounds provide and knew I would seek a future in cardiology. My interest in treating child heart patients was fired towards the end of my training and matured during the internship. A sick, dependent, and vulnerable little patient with parents wearing anxiety-filled faces provides a uniquely heart-rending scene. I know that not every physician can handle the substantial emotional component that is involved in exclusively treating extremely sick children. However, I was confident that I could and could not see a better way to live my life than to do so. Because of my exceptional results, I was given a choice scholarship and had no hesitation in choosing pediatric cardiology.
In 2007, I began work in the Pediatrics Department of the King Abdul Aziz University Hospital in Jeddah and subsequently joined the Saudi Training Board of Pediatrics. I was the only one in my class to pass the MRC Pech final exam in 2010, one year ahead of schedule. The setting was a busy teaching hospital near the entry port for thousands of Hajj pilgrims. Consequently, my residency exposed me to an astonishing variety of cases and provided an ideal learning environment. I discovered, to my delight, that ‘preterm’ in exceptional care units do not break if touched. I also learned to quietly absorb the angry bewilderment of a father who knew that one of the side effects of chemotherapy for leukemia was a cardio-toxic one that resulted in an ejection fraction of 13% in a country where cardiac transplant programs are not available. This experience has been of enormous value in my professional and personal development.
I have also been involved in teaching and enjoy sharing my knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm. The look of a student who has finally understood the point is uniquely satisfying. My research interests are pulmonary hypertension and molecular cardiology.
I am very aware of the need for cultural sensitivity in healthcare. Though born in Saudi Arabia, I lived in the United States for eight years during my childhood and look forward to returning. I have happily studied, worked, and socialized with people of diverse cultural backgrounds.
My goals are to broaden my knowledge and skills in a highly challenging program, undertake meaningful research and return to my country and launch a comprehensive cardiology program that includes electrophysiology service and cardiac transplant.
Fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology Personal Statement