The Prince of Specialties
By Raymond Rogers, MB ChB, FCS(SA)
It was a wonderfully proud day for my wife and me when Graeme and his twin brother, Alan, were born in August 1978, just after my first 18 months as an ophthalmology registrar at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
From an early age, they insisted upon being regarded as individuals in their own right and not as “the twins.” Although Graeme and Alan (Figure 1) were close and competitive both academically and at sport, they each seemed to prioritize the other’s success over their own. We were delighted especially that they eventually both chose to study medicine at University of Cape Town, where my wife and I had studied and where their older sister was specializing in obstetrics and gynecology.
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Some time later, Graeme sought from me advice on a long-term direction in his medical career. I had been in private ophthalmology practice for many years, and I suggested he consider it as a satisfying career option. It was indeed a most fortunate choice, for when he moved to the ophthalmology department in the same hospital where he had been working in pediatrics, his consultant, Meldrick Booysen, MD, gave him an excellent introduction to ophthalmology.
By the time my son became a registrar at Groote Schuur, he had already performed several thousand cataract procedures with another superb mentor, David Steven, MD, at Eerste River Hospital.
I had the profound honor and privilege to cap Graeme when he graduated as a Fellow of the College of Ophthalmology of South Africa (Figure 2). A year-long fellowship in glaucoma in Melbourne, Australia, followed, and Graeme has now almost completed a 2-year fellowship in retinal surgery at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin. His brother, Alan, is currently a consultant plastic surgeon in the largest burn unit in Canada.
What more can I say, except that his mother and I are indeed proud of Graeme and his career so far in this prince of specialties. We hope that, after his travels, he may return home to South Africa, where the need for fellowship-trained specialists is so great yet so undervalued by the current regime.
Although Graeme and I have never operated or worked together, I am pleased to have influenced him in a small way, particularly in his enthusiasm for assisting his younger and less-experienced colleagues.