Dream trip to see leprosy surgery
‘Mind-blowing’ to be asked to go
A 20-year-old Queenstown medical student is ecstatic to be chosen as part of an elite group of young New Zealand health professionals headed for Nepal in February to observe leprosy surgery in a specialist hospital, south of Kathmandu. Jared Campbell found out within hours of his selection last week that he was also one of only a handful of second year Otago Medical School students to be awarded a prestigious Distinction Award this year. That’s something the humble budding young doctor plays down, but being accepted for the 12-day New Zealand Leprosy Mission trip to Nepal is ‘‘just mind blowing’’. ‘‘The idea is to teach, promote and educate students so they realise we still have these diseases, that many people view as ancient and archaic. ‘‘Yes, there’s a cure, but not everyone has access to it.’’ ‘‘It’s such an incredible opportunity, especially the immersion in the hospital where they reconstruct everything from eyes to hands.’’ After the hard work there would be a twoday trek into the foothills of Mt Everest. The excitement is bitter-sweet for Mr Campbell, whose father Barry Campbell died of a brain tumour when he was just 12. ‘‘They say every cloud has a silver lining, but it was more than that. ‘‘That’s the reason I wanted to get into medicine,’’ he said. The tremendous compassion shown by doctors caring for his Dad really impacted on the youngster. He remembers the surgeon who broke down in tears as he told his mother, brother and little twin sisters he’d done all he could ‘‘I was standing in surgery this year thinking this was the same floor my Dad was operated on and eight years later I was there watching someone else in that same position.’’ It’s been a financial challenge getting this far. As a widow, Mr Campbell’s mother, Tracie Campbell, said she just could not have afforded to finance him through Medical School without the tremendous generosity of five scholarships he was awarded, worth more than $40,000. The Murihiku Health Scholarship, worth $16,000, also guarantees him a job for two years as a house surgeon at Southland Hospital when he graduates. Queenstown trustees administering his Margaret Templeton Scholarship, awarded for hardship, had been ‘‘awesome’’ and very encouraging, he said. The hard work is already paying off with an unprecedented invitation to ‘‘scrub in’’ and join renowned Dunedin orthopaedic surgeon John Dunbar in theatre, a privilege normally reserved for fourth year students. So far it’s been a wonderful opportunity to honour his Dad while pursuing a passion that ‘‘involves brain power’’. Mr Campbell said he couldn’t have got this far without his strong Christian faith: ‘‘In everything I do I acknowledge God for my successes.’’ ‘‘Really it’s about changing each person’s world. To be able to do that for people is a massive honour,’’ he said.
Pinching himself: Medical student Jared Campbell celebrates the email confirming he’s off on the dream trip of a lifetime to Nepal.