He saves lives and nurtures the next generation of surgeons in Alberta
Job Title: Trauma Surgeon, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Assistant Professor, University of Alberta
Trauma doctors routinely save lives, but they don’t often end up working with their patients. But that was exactly the case for Ram Anantha when he found himself working along-side someone who’s life he had saved years earlier.
“They had been in a bad car crash. I was the chief resident surgeon in London [Ontario] when she came in and I operated on her,” The Royal Alexandra trauma surgeon says.
Just a few weeks after joining Anantha’s team, she showed him a copy of a book she had written — a children’s book for childhood patients at hospitals. Anantha took one look and realized that he was the doctor in her book. “What’re the chances of that? That she survives, gets into medical school, comes to Edmonton and is assigned to the team I’m on?”
Not every patient writes books about their life-saving experiences under Anantha’s care, but his impact is undeniable. Set foot in his office and you’ll be met with dozens of thank-you cards, carefully placed between portraits of Robert F. Kennedy and Saint Thomas More — men that Anantha says were also guided by their principles.
In his work as a surgeon, Anantha’s saved lives, spearheaded a nationally recognized hernia surgical unit and established the Trauma Brain Injury Clinic. But he’s also been a mentor and guiding light for the next generation of medical professionals. From offering advice and career guidance, to routinely stocking the fridges of residents during gruelingly long shifts, it’s those connections he finds most rewards.
“There are these technical components to fixing someone’s life – literally saving someone’s life – but at the end of the day it’s the human story that just makes it so memorable,” he says.