One man’s jour­ney from pre­emie to doc­tor-in-train­ing

U of T med stu­dent spent much of his life at Sick Kids as a pa­tient. Now, he’s back to help FOL­LOW SHE­HATA’S JOURNEYAT

StarMetro Toronto - - TORONTO - Me­gan Ogilvie STAFF RE­PORTER

Adam She­hata has been inside the Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren hun­dreds of times in his 36 years.

First, as an in­fant, strug­gling to sur­vive in the hos­pi­tal’s NICU af­ter be­ing born 16 weeks too early and on the thresh­old of life.

Then, as a child, dur­ing weekly vis­its for his many fol­low-up ap­point­ments.

And later, as an adult, She­hata found him­self back at Sick Kids for an un­ex­pected visit, dur­ing which he and his wife learned their longed-for first preg­nancy would have a dev­as­tat­ing end.

But this week, She­hata en­tered the hos­pi­tal, not as a pa­tient or a par­ent, but as a doc­tor-in-train­ing, a step to­ward ful­fill­ing his dream of be­com­ing a pe­di­atric sur­geon at the renowned hos­pi­tal.

“I’m for­tu­nate for so many rea­sons, and much of it has to do with the care I re­ceived at Sick Kids,” She­hata says. “And now it’s a re­ally nice feel­ing to know I can start to give back.”

She­hata, a third-year med­i­cal stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Toronto, started his sixweek pe­di­atrics ro­ta­tion at Sick Kids on Mon­day, Nov. 26.

That morn­ing, dur­ing his sub­way com­mute to the hos­pi­tal, She­hata found him­self re­flect­ing on what it meant to THES­TAR.COM/

GTA go back to the place that once saved his life. This time, and against the odds, he would be the one help­ing chil­dren.

She­hata hadn’t planned on mak­ing his thoughts pub­lic. But once he saw the big, illu- mi­nated Sick Kids sign tow­er­ing above the main en­trance, She­hata snapped a photo of the build­ing’s fa­cade and posted it on Twit­ter, along with sev­eral tweets briefly out­lin­ing his health jour­ney.

His Twit­ter thread, which in­cludes the fol­low­ing state­ment — “We can never truly know the im­pact we will have on other peo­ple’s lives” — has since been ‘liked’ more than

2,000 times and has gen­er­ated dozens of com­ments. This is a lot of on­line at­ten­tion for She­hata, who has roughly 350 Twit­ter fol­low­ers.

“I think it’s the kind of story that peo­ple are long­ing for,” he says. “Peo­ple are al­ways root­ing for the un­der­dog. And though I don’t see my­self in that position now, I cer­tainly was an un­der­dog when I was a baby, born at

24 weeks, with such long odds for sur­vival.”

At 36, She­hata is a bit late to med­i­cal school; many of his class­mates are in their early 20s.

But She­hata, who ap­plied five times to med school be­fore be­ing ac­cepted by the Univer­sity of Toronto in the spring of 2015, knows he brings a host of skills.

She­hata is a pro­fes­sional pi­lot with a univer­sity de­gree in avi­a­tion busi­ness man­age­ment. He also has a law de­gree from Os­goode Hall Law School at York Univer­sity.

While in his 20s, She­hata fo­cused on his pas­sion for avi­a­tion, earn­ing his Class I Flight In­struc­tor rat­ing, which al­lowed him to teach com­mer­cial pi­lots how to fly, and then ac­quir­ing his air­line trans­port pi­lot li­cence, which is needed to cap­tain large com­mer­cial air­lin­ers.

But in 2010, at age 28, She­hata de­cided to be­come a doc­tor af­ter a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that took place with his wife, Christina.

The pair, who had mar­ried the pre­vi­ous year, had been re­ferred to Sick Kids af­ter learn­ing their un­born baby had a se­vere heart de­fect.

RICK MADONIK/TORONTO STAR

Adam She­hata, 36, is a third-year med­i­cal stu­dent do­ing a ro­ta­tion at Sick Kids Hos­pi­tal. He him­self was a pre­ma­ture baby at Sick Kids, but he beat the odds and has now re­turned to the hos­pi­tal to “give back.”

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