José Fernando López Salguero, Guatemala

By José Fernando López Salguero

Now that I am leaving Taiwan I realize that coming here I did not know how much this experience would change my life; professionally and personally. Some of the most enriching lessons I learned here had nothing to do with surgery, although the education I got in chang gung memorial hospital is one of the best in the world. But my experience in CGMH went far beyond learning surgical procedures, it changed my outlook on life and shaped the way I think about my own personal practice.

 

I had really no idea of what i was getting myself into when i first applied to be part of the craniofacial team at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital's Plastic Surgery Department i only had impresive references from some of my professors back home on what they publish. Once i got accepted i only had two months to get all my affairs in order and go. It was a stressful time for me since my wife was pregnant at the time and we where living in a foreign country. But everything lined up and off we went to Taiwan. At first it was a little scary since i dont speak the language but all doubts where out to rest on the first day i got to meet professor Yu Ray Chen and Yi Chie Chen, who made me feel wellcome and most important that they care not only about my training but also of me as a person. Now this is not something i am used to, it is very rare that a Chief and Superintendant of a Hospital takes time to get to know a newly arrived student but that is the kind of person Dr. Yu Ray is, an example of greatness and humility in the same person.

Once i felt part of the Department everything went smoothely, i started learning OGS under Dr. Yu Ray's guidance and Dr. Yi Chie's patience getting moré and more confident with the procedure every day as well as more and more confortable with my surroundings. I also should mention that a wonderful professor named Dr. Clement Lín was kind enough to expose me to OGS for sleep apnea and OGS in general, becoming one of my most prefered teachers in the department.

Once my timein Dr.Yu Ray Chen's group had finished i started on my trauma rotation, one of the most exciting and fulfilling times in all my training, in part because of Dr. CT Chen's guidance since watching and learning from him gave me all the confidance i needed to trackle trauma cases and complex facial reconstructive cases. He is a wonderful teacher always making me feel confortable and answering the millions of questions i asked every day! Also he is one of the smartest people i know and i am trully thankfull that he allowed me to operate on his patients and having trusted me to do so on my own.

After my trauma rotation i joined Dr. Phillip Chen's service and i have to say i was not dissapointed, i have never seen anybody perform cleft lip and palate surgery in such a schematic and scientific manner as Dr. Phillip. He is trully a leading word expert in the field and i was Lucky to be able to spend time learning From him and Dr.Lo. They showed me how cleft lip and palate surgery SHOULD BE like and what a great responsability it is to have the oportunity to treat these type of patients.

But i think that if some one would ask me what was my favorite moment in all my time in Taiwan, i would have to say it was my farewell talk. Because i got to thank all tha people who made my experience in Taiwan one of the best in my life and that includes Nancy Chen, the most giving and generous person i have ever had the pleasure of knowing, she trully is a godsend. Also because it is not every day that i get to hear possitive feedback From people i have grown to admire, not only From a proffesional standpoint but also a personal one.

In summary my time in Taiwan had it's ups and downs but i would do it again in a hartbeat, and i trully believe that it has made me a better doctor, a better person and defenetly a better surgeon.

I would recommend anybody that wants to become a world class surgeon to apply for a fellowship at the Chang Gung's Memorial Hospital Craniofacial Center since to be great you have to learn from the great and there are many of them at Chang Gung. Thank you to the NFC and the Craniofacial Center for an absolutely incredible year!

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