SOCSpring2016.WhatsUpBalumuka

Dr. Darius D. Balumuka

what’s up, doc?

DR. DARIUS D. BALUMUKA

Pediatric Plastic Surgery Fellow; MBChB, MMed (PRS)

BEHIND THE STETHOSCOPE: My pediatric plastic surgery fellowship involves working with a very experienced team of plastic surgeons here at BC Children’s Hospital; I am also involved in clinical research and I have been working closely with the brachial plexus team on the new management protocol for children with birth-related brachial plexus injury. This is very exciting for me since this new protocol is very applicable and will make a huge difference to patients in Uganda.

TRAINING: I did my undergraduate training in Mbarara University where I obtained an MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery). Then I moved to Tanzania where I worked in a university hospital for three years. I returned to Uganda and did my plastic surgery training (Master of Medicine in Plastic, Reconstruction and Aesthetic Surgery) from Mbarara University of Science and Technology. During my plastic surgery training, I did an elective at Vancouver General Hospital in 2013 from whence I got introduced to the pediatric plastic surgery team.

WHAT YOU’D NEVER KNOW ABOUT ME: I take five spoons of sugar in my tea. I know it is unusual but tea is meant to be sweet – at least in my head.

WHY I BECAME A PLASTIC SURGEON: Having worked in the department of surgery for three years in Tanzania, I found that burn cases were neglected. These children were mostly from very poor families and always had a poor functional outcome. I then witnessed a plastic surgery mission that visited Tanzania and I felt I could improve the care in burns and burn reconstruction. So I applied for plastic surgery. In Uganda, plastic surgery is largely known for burn management.

HOBBIES: I enjoy swimming, jogging, rugby and mountain climbing. I would love to try yoga someday but I am too stiff.

SECRET FANTASY: Running a surgery-themed bar. I think I would make a good bartender, serving cocktails with names like GIN-oplasty.

IF I DIDN’T HAVE TO WORK: I would spend more time reading books, learning many more languages, becoming a better swimmer and tasting all the different cuisines I can find.

PHILOSOPHY: No one is so poor not to give and no one is so rich not to receive. I believe this philosophy calls us to dig deeper inside ourselves to find empathy, sympathy and the power to forgive. I believe that sometimes even when we are in the worst situations we can still lend a helping hand.

WHAT I’M READING NOW: The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes from an Uncertain Science by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I am enjoying this book whenever I have spare time to read. Its essence is the uncertainties of medical/surgical practice from the earliest practitioners to today. It is short and very well written.


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