Dr. Arun Singh – Heart Surgeon and Author – How an Indian Immigrant Became a Prolific Surgeon, The Importance of Emotion in Healthcare, and Overcoming Obstacles to Pursue Career Goals
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In this episode, our guest is Dr. Arun Singh, M.D., prolific heart surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital and author of the memoir “Your Heart, My Hands.” Dr. Singh shares his experience as an Indian immigrant in the U.S. during the 1960s, the obstacles he overcame to pursue a career in surgery, the importance of emotion in the medical field, and how to develop a deeper understanding of the human heart.
An Indian Immigrant in the 1960’s
The conversation begins with Dr. Singh recounting his journey to the U.S. Born in India in 1944, he graduated medical school at the age of 22 and migrated to the U.S. in 1967 to pursue a career in surgery.
When he first arrived, it was difficult to find an opening at any hospital due to the fierce competition with other U.S. citizens. Eventually, a former professor connected Dr. Singh with an open position at Columbia University. He discusses the importance of relationships and mentorship when pursuing career opportunities.
Overcoming Obstacles to Pursue His Career
The job was quite difficult at first – Dr. Singh lacked an adequate support system to help him adjust to the entirely new culture and healthcare system. He recounts an inspiring visit to the Statue of Liberty during a time of severe doubt and shares the inspiration he gained from the experience.
Dr. Singh also shares a story from his childhood about getting surgery for one of his hands that was terribly mangled. This painful experience as well as other medical complications throughout his childhood are what sparked his desire to become a surgeon.
Making Healthcare Human
Dr. Singh recounts an emotional story about an open-heart surgery he performed on a baby boy who sadly passed away, which sparks a discussion about the role of emotion in the medical field. He believes that as technology has advanced, healthcare has lost the “human element”. Medicine is a combination of both science and art, and he discusses the need for empathy and emotion in the healthcare industry.
Developing an Understanding of the Human Heart
To conclude the episode, Dr. Singh shares an anecdote about his grandfather, with whom he had a strained relationship. This opens a discussion about how someone can develop a deeper understanding of the human heart, and Dr. Singh encourages listeners to talk to people and ask them questions about their life in order to develop meaningful relationships with them.
Dr. Singh recently released his memoir, “Your Heart, My Hands”, which recounts his inspiring journey with incredible depth and insight.
Humans in Healthcare is produced by Shearwater Health in Nashville, TN, and hosted by Chief Marketing Officer, Nathan King.
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