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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.
Bledi is quietly spoken and reserved both socially and professionally. I noticed his manner on our first interview and was secretly a little worried that we may not click in both arenas, at work and at play. Within a week of working closely with Bledi, any reservation I had was dispelled. He typifies the expression, still waters run deep. He demonstrated warmth and compassion to all patients but especially those who needed a bit more time to accept post-operative deficits or a terminal diagnosis. He’s a great listener but his paucity of words doesn’t mean he doesn’t contribute to clinical decision making and complex clinical scenarios. On the contrary, when Bledi has something to say, people listen. In the operating room, he showed exceptional dexterity and sound insight into controversial situations.
My running joke with Bledi was that he was the only fellow who refused to reduce his meat intake in deference to my veganism. While I was a little upset with him…. for the animals sake…. it is illustrative of Bledi’s strong personality and conviction….. sad for the animals but comforting for his patients who can be reassured he will be uncompromising in their care.
I really enjoyed my time with Bledi. He was a stable force during some trying times for me personally and professionally. He was fun to be around, incredibly trustworthy and a compassionate clinician. We wish him the best of luck for the future and look forward to hearing great things.