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Why being a physician is a blessing and a privilege

I feel privileged to be an orthopedic surgeon. Every day, I have the chance to make an impact on someone else’s life, to give someone back their independence, to help someone walk again. No two days are the same, but each one is fulfilling.

But sometimes, I forget what a gift this job is.

I recently had the chance to travel with a team of other physicians and medical staff to Karachi, Pakistan. We had been planning this trip for almost a year and I was excited to serve on my first surgical mission trip. I was traveling alongside two other orthopedic surgeons, a physician’s assistant, a physical therapist and an implant inventory advisor, all from the U.S.

Our goal was to make a difference in the lives of people in Pakistan, but what I don’t think any of us realized was how big an impact this trip would have on us.

We spent six days working at Indus Hospital, a 150-bed hospital located in Karachi. This facility survives solely on donations, but is a fully functional hospital. It’s a medical destination of sorts for many people who live in rural Pakistan.

In the one week we spent at Indus Hospital, we performed 66 joint replacement surgeries.

Looking back, it’s hard to describe this experience in words. Many of the patients we met had traveled from small villages and far away towns to meet us in Karachi because there were no local medical resources to meet their needs. These were people with complex medical issues — from crippling degenerative arthritis, to post-traumatic and congenital deformities, and failed joint replacements that needed revision surgery.

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These little moments remind me that I’m blessed to do what I do. What was a routine surgery for us was a life-changing miracle for him.

Although each patient I met made an impact, there is one in particular that I will never forget. He was young, in his 20s, but he had a spastic hip that kept him from walking and living normally. We were able to correct his hip deformity, hopefully giving him a sense of independence and confidence that he had never known.

These little moments remind me that I’m blessed to do what I do. What was a routine surgery for us was a life-changing miracle for him.

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Being able to serve on this medical mission trip was incredibly rewarding. It made me feel that all my years of training were truly worth it. Of course, I enjoy caring for patients every day here in Dallas. But these patients in Pakistan have such limited access to care — it was humbling and fulfilling to be the one changing their lives for the better.

The people we met were so appreciative. They were constantly thanking God and praying for all of us. Sometimes, I couldn’t even come up with words when they told me their stories.

In addition to treating patients, our other goal on this trip was to educate and train other surgeons and residents in the operating room on techniques to improve surgical efficiency and patient safety. I was able to practice the cutting-edge techniques I employ every day, but this time in a third world country. I hope that my teaching made an impact on the residents who scrubbed in with me on these surgeries, inspiring them to continue to push for better orthopedic care for their communities.

This mission trip was a reminder that I am truly blessed to be where I am and to be living the life I do. I am so grateful for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me and my family.

This mission trip was a reminder that I am truly blessed to be where I am and to be living the life I do. I am so grateful for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me and my family. Through this experience, I grew as a physician and a person because I realized there are so many resources and blessings we take for granted.

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Ultimately, this mission trip was an amazing experience and a reminder that as a surgeon, my job isn’t just to fix people. It’s to listen to them, to hear their stories and to show them that someone cares. I think we can be better clinicians by listening more and healing with our hands and our hearts. 

You, too, can make a difference in someone’s life. Join the Baylor Scott & White team and see where your calling takes you.

About the author

Khalid Yousuf, MD, MS
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Khalid Yousuf, MD, MS, is an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano. He focuses on hip and knee replacements. He utilizes surgical and technological advancements to offer his patients relief from joint pain, including partial knee replacements and anterior hip approach. He received advanced training in joint replacement surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Yousuf attended medical school at Louisiana State University in New Orleans and completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Oklahoma. In his free time, Dr. Yousuf enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters. They love cooking, traveling and swimming together.

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  1. Pingback: Reflections on the medical mission trip that changed my life and nursing career | Scrubbing In

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Why being a physician is a blessing and a privilege