In, out of a hospital with Gobi Bah: It’s all about ‘restoring hope, form’

Gobi in theater (with device in hand, bangle on wrist): Photo provided by Gobi

As a child he was always fascinated by all the things that happened in hospitals. He would always tell his parents he wanted to become a medical doctor in the future. Today, Momodou Gobi Bah (goes by Gobi), from The Gambia, is realizing his dream. He is a rising senior in neuroscience at Michigan State University.

Though at an early age Gobi had a passion for the medical field, he was not sure if he was “ready for such a challenging career,” Gobi said.

But this changed in the  summer of 2016 when he had the opportunity to intern at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ghana. It is a requirement for Scholars to complete an internship on the continent of Africa, an opportunity he used to completely immerse himself in the hospital life.

“I thought interning in a hospital would give me the chance to experience what it means to work in a hospital as a doctor,” Gobi said.

June 1st, Gobi set out for Ghana. “I was excited and somehow nervous because my experience from the internship would determine whether or not I was going to pursue a career in medicine,” he added.  

As Gobi’s first assignment he joined medical students on their unit rotations for a week, during which he was introduced to the functions of each hospital unit. One unit seemed easy for him. “I enjoyed attending the radiology unit rotation within minutes, I knew how to read and interpret X-ray scans,” Gobi said.

For the first month, Gobi shadowed doctors in the neurosurgery department. He later moved to the plastic and reconstructive surgery unit in the second month. As a budding neurosurgeon, this time was worth it, as it gave him an idea of what he would be doing when he becomes one.

“Neurosurgery is particularly interesting and amazing,” Gobi said . “I never thought I would witness  someone’s skull being cut open and then joined together again. It may seem scary to those not in the medical field but to to me it is simply awesome,” Gobi said.

In the surgery unit, Gobi mounted brain X-ray scans, moved surgical lights and gave out surgical equipment if they were needed. Out of the theater, Gobi joined the surgeons on ward rounds harnessing patient-medical personnel skills and asking the doctors a lot of question, while taking personal notes. But some emotions set in.

“I was deeply disturbed by different complications I saw,” Gobi said. But seeing different heartbreaking health complications at an early stage in his career would spare him the struggle to cope with similar conditions in the future.

Plastic and reconstructive surgery was one areas where he was embedded in a team. It “blew my mind. It was completely the opposite of what I expected” Gobi said.

“From that experience, I thought plastic surgery was all about being beautiful and attractive.” It’s different, it’s about restoring form and hope. “I saw patients with burns; clefts, contraction and natural life threatening deformities undergo plastic and reconstructive surgery.”

Out of the hospital

From Ghana, he travelled to his home country, The Gambia, where he engaged in service activities, another component of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Michigan State University.  

“I served as a mentor for high schoolers, guiding them through the processes and procedures of submitting strong applications and shared my life-changing experiences as a Scholar,” Gobi said. “I hope my story will inspire many young people out there to pursue their dreams”.

Gobi’s visit to Ghana instilled the zeal and willingness to give back to his community. It gave him the space and time he needed to get acquainted to a hospital working environment and he is optimistic that the experience he attained will go a long way.

“I realized my passion for medicine was a true indication and without doubt I am convinced that I want to become a doctor, and save lives everyday.”


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