There are two types of people who choose medicine as a profession, says Ramin Javahery, MD, FAANS, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Miller Children’s Hospital
. Both make their decisions from an idealistic perspective.
One group chooses medicine because they love science and healthcare. The second choose medicine because they believe it to be a noble profession providing an opportunity to help people in the community.
Javahery says he falls into the latter group.
“I was an English literature major in college,” he admits. “I was not necessarily geared towards healthcare or the sciences.”
There were plenty of opportunities to go into business through friends of the family, or possibly attend law school. But Javahery didn’t feel those paths would be satisfying.
“I wanted to have a job where I felt I was serving the public good in a very direct way,” he explains. “I wanted something that was much more direct and intimate.”
Up Close and Personal
Direct and intimate meant neurosurgical training at the University of Miami, and subsequent fellowships in pediatric neurosurgery and spine surgery. Javahery says he wanted to be where the problems were so intense they would truly eliminate all of the barriers to intimacy between doctor and patient.
“My patients … are extraordinarily fearful of what they’re dealing with,” Javahery says. “I think the existential aspects of neurosurgery, because they are so on the surface, so disarming to the patient, allow for a greater degree of intimacy.”
That appeals to Javahery, who says he wants to be part of the patient’s emotional response to their disease without having to break through many defense mechanisms – the kind people have when they go to see a lawyer or a car salesman because they’re worried people are going to take advantage of them.
“Healthcare has less of that, and neurosurgery even less because people come to the hospital and they’re extremely vulnerable,” he explains. “They don’t have the luxury of being suspicious of everybody. So there is a certain connectivity that is wonderful for both you and the patients. You make the disease process so much less terrifying for these people because they feel they are not alone.”