In April, the InterSurgeon team had the pleasure of speaking to our student and trainee champion; Dr Bandyopadhyay  who is currently a neurosurgical trainee in the UK.

He was brought on board by our co-founder, the late, Mr William Harkness; “I was a student then. He reached out to me, given my contacts around the world with different students, to start building up the network of students.”

Soon after becoming a champion, Dr Bandyopadhyay qualified from Oxford medical school at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: “I was one of those first medical students who graduated early to take part in emergency responses back then. So my first shift was in an emergency department.”

Following on from his initial training jobs, he chose to specialise in neurosurgery; “There’s lots of reasons that drew me to it. Ultimately, I’m an academic trainee and I there are a lot of unknowns in neurosurgery about how we do things, both in terms of the non-surgical and the surgical. And I think there’s a lot that can be discovered. As a neurosurgeon, you get a better insight into the brain and the conditions.  You get to talk to families and the issues that matter to them. And that way you are not just working on what issues you think are important, but you get to take on challenges that are important for clinicians and the patients who you ultimately want to benefit.” 

Whilst he is training, he is actively involved in work abroad during his study leave and annual leave doing networking, training and research activities to build sustainable long term partnerships; “I’ve managed to collaborate with colleagues in Bangladesh, India, Brazil, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Cameroon. So it’s been a busy life but it’s been rewarding.”

Global surgery

Dr Bandyopadhyay has first-hand experience of living in a rural area of India with “limited access to healthcare facilities and the consequences that can have”. We discussed global surgery and its importance:

Global surgery is a problem of people not getting healthcare in a way that they need. And that’s not an issue for one locality of one country. It’s an issue for all of us. Whether we’re talking about the life expectancy disparities that exist in the UK or people of certain impoverished groups in the UK not getting access to certain treatments. Or whether we’re talking about Dhaka, Mumbai or Rio de Janeiro. There are issues that exist in nearly every place in the world. And I think as surgeons your role extends beyond the theatre because if you’re just purely reacting to a surgical emergency then surgical demand is just going to increase. I think we have a role to play in public health and prevention and making sure that we can avoid surgery at all costs because the best thing a surgeon can do is not need to operate.”


As an InterSurgeon champion, Dr Bandyopadhyay has an insight into how useful InterSurgeon can be to facilitate global surgical partnerships: “It should be more than just a tool to connect people but also a tool to advertise opportunities and get resources and tools to those who need it. I think as it grows it’ll become the resource to use for people across the world. I think it’s still at a stage where potentially we’re trying to figure out how best to advertise the resources and how best to get those resources to those people without it feeling a bit like you’re donating broken equipment or equipment that’s out of date.”

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