In September 2013, I went to Southampton General Hospital Open Day out of interest after playing a rugby match nearby. My family and I watched a kidney dissection in cytopathology, and as I was really interested, continued to have a look around pathology. Here we met a charming pathologist, Dr Bhumita Vadgama, who noted my enthusiasm and said that she would be very happy to arrange some work experience for me once I was sixteen. This was incredibly kind of her, but unfortunately because of my age, I had to wait almost a year until I could do my prearranged time in the pathology department.
This was my first real experience of a big working hospital, and it was fascinating to learn about how hospitals operate and how the different areas collaborate with each other in order to care efficiently for their patients. I spent a large proportion of my time in cytopathology, where I watched many dissections of placentas, breasts, kidneys, livers, and so on. I was shown how samples were produced and analysed, and how diagnoses could be made from this information. I was amazed by the efficiency with which biopsies can be prepared; at one point, a surgeon appeared in pathology with a biopsy he had taken five minutes before, and it was confirmed in the space of about fifteen minutes that this did indeed contain cancer cells; the surgeon then continued with his operation.
I came back to thank Dr Vadgama by volunteering at the Hospital Open Day on 27th September 2014; I spent most of the day teaching children about the anatomy of the human body using a life-size dummy and skeleton.
Here is a copy of the reference which Dr Vadgama kindly wrote for me: