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It is with much sadness that we farewell Lola and her “extended family”. It would be so wrong not to include her beautiful daughter, Harper, and her dedicated nanny, Kate, when reflecting on the last 6 months. Lola came to us from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the most prestigious neurosurgical departments in the USA. So respected by her colleagues at the end of her residency Lola was offered a position back at Vanderbilt as an Assistant Professor. She started in that role 2 days after leaving Sydney! Lola gave new meaning to the title “Wonder Woman”. Not only did she fulfil her clinical duties with absolute dedication and precision, she also managed to be a loving and nurturing mother to Harper, who was only 4 months old when they arrived in Sydney. Lola is an excellent surgeon, a compassionate caregiver, a quick learner and, most impressively, an awesome Karaoke performer. Finally, I wanted to thank Sid, her devoted husband, for allowing us to have Lola and Harper for 6 months. We often forget the sacrifices that are made when fellows come across the oceans from faraway lands….not only by the fellows but also by their families. It is with much sadness that we say goodbye to the Chambless family and wish them the best of luck in Nashville.
As usual, the over 600 applicants we received for the fellowship was shortened to 5 amazingly qualified candidates. They were from countries on all major continents and appeared to be the best of the best. How was I to choose? Harish was a resident at one of the best hospitals in the world, Cedars-Sinai in Beverly Hills, USA. He had received a glowing reference from his Chairman, the famous and talented, Keith Black…..but so too had the other 4 short-listed candidates. As is often the case, I decided to meet with them all on one of my trips to LA, and my daughter Alex, who was living in Santa Monica at the time, joined me. After interviewing them all, over breakfast, I still couldn’t make up my mind. Alex piped up and stated with authority, “Harish is the best candidate…I would choose him”. Given that my daughters have had very close relationships with all my previous fellows, from infants to now, I guess, no-one would be better qualified to know, what makes a good fellow or a bad fellow….who makes my life easier and enjoyable, and who makes my life harder and miserable. I decided to act on her intuition.
Harish, like all the other fellows brought his unique training and personality to the fellowship. I always give my fellows a title once they finish that includes at least one superlative….best technician, best academician, best clinician etc. Harish’s “superlative” is easy. Part of teaching and interaction with the fellow includes placing bets with them on some challenging clinical question. As you would hope and expect, I win the bet more often than not….usually based on my 35 years of experience rather than my reading of the text books. For the first time in the history of the fellowship, Harish won more bets than he lost. I hope this doesn’t mean that I no longer have anything worthwhile to teach, but I suspect, it’s Harish’s sharp mind, vast breadth of knowledge, clinical acumen and a little Indian karma!!!
Thanks for an incredibly enjoyable 6 months Harish. We wish you and your beautiful family the best of fortune in SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York.