In Conversation With...Veer Gupta, Senior House Officer in our Paediatics and Neonatology department
We know there are lots of very interesting people in our Trust, whether through their work, their interests or their hobbies outside work and we want to share their stories.
So here is the next instalment of our series: In Conversation With…
Veer Gupta, Senior House Officer in our Paediatics and Neonatology department. Veer is 31 and lives in Romford with wife Sonal, 28.
And: Veer may only be 31, but his career has already taken him all over the world, including Ireland, Singapore, New York and Columbia. He’s a Canadian citizen, but is originally from India…
What’s your role at our Trust and how long have you been with us?
I joined three months ago, mostly working in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), as well as our post-natal and labour wards.
We oversee high-risk deliveries, checking the baby after birth to decide whether they need to be admitted to our NICU. We’re usually responsible for 34 babies in NICU, as well as around 30 across our other post-natal wards and Coral.
Tell us more about your career and the countries you’ve worked in
I trained at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, a renowned school of medicine. Ireland was a great opportunity to finish medical school in a shorter time, straight after high school, rather than doing an undergraduate degree first, as you have to do in North America.
It was a really unique experience and I made friends with other students from all over the world, which has inspired me to travel.
I was working in Ireland after I qualified when the National University of Singapore came over to recruit doctors so I went, working at its affiliated hospitals. I got experience in trauma and orthopaedics, general medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology and I was able to travel all over south east Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia. It’s a unique and beautiful part of the world.
Then I worked for the United Nations in New York. I was based at the international healthcare department looking at the logistics for delivering medical aid to developing countries and was also involved with research.
I really enjoyed it but I missed being clinical. I moved to London because the medical training here is recognised back home, and my eventual plan is to go back.
My uncle works at Great Ormond Street and he put me in touch with Dr Rao and Dr Morgan Keane. They interviewed me over Skype. He said I’d get lots of exposure to high intensity paediatric care here and he wasn’t kidding. My work at NICU is among the most intense and exciting I’ve ever done.
I feel that if I can work in a big trust like ours with such a busy environment, I can work anywhere. The doctors, midwifes and nurses I work with are really helpful and are some of the best medical professionals I’ve ever seen in relation to Neonatal clinical knowledge and skill.
What made you want to become a doctor?
My dad is an orthopaedic surgeon and my mum is an interventional radiologist so it’s in the blood! I’ve never known anything else and never thought about anything else. Most of my parents’ friends are in medicine too so that was all I was exposed to as a kid.
What’s the best thing about being a doctor?
It’s a gift and a privilege to be a doctor. You get a range of experiences and emotions.
When you have a sick baby in your care, and your team is responsible for making them better and the parents see that, it’s phenomenal. The best bit is the moment when the baby is ready to go home and you see them with all the bags and they’re saying thank you and are so grateful. It’s a really special moment.
Of course there is the flip side when you try everything but it’s not enough and you lose a baby. We deal with the most delicate part of life and death with babies and that can take its toll.
What’s your ultimate ambition?
I’ve never had a plan to specialise in a certain area as I want to get as much experience as I can. I’d like to eventually be involved in global health management with the WHO or Red Cross, but I love clinical medicine too so it’s a tough decision.
My dream is to open and manage my own hospital one day.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I love long drives in the country. I like to swim, read, watch movies, and I love watching sport; I play table tennis, that’s my favourite sport.
My wife and I got married last year and she’s moved over here to be with me, so whenever we have a day off we like going into London and visiting the museums or parks. We went to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park three times – no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t win her a cuddly toy!
And of course I love to travel. The whole family will be meeting up in India soon for my brother’s wedding. I’ve also got a trip to Turkey coming up. I can’t sit still so whenever I have a few days off in a row I always look at where I can go.
And our favourite question of In Conversation With… do you have any pets?
I have a pug, Millie. She lives in Canada with my parents, I want to bring her over here but I’ll have a battle on my hands as my parents are so attached to her. I regularly Skype her so I get to see her. Yes. I facetime my dog…!