Everyone would rest easier knowing that three was an abundance of skilled surgeons prepared and eager to excise, repair or reconstruct whenever the medical need arises.
2006 saw the establishment (inspired by similar developments in the UK) of the UCT Surgical Society, for – and by – students interested in exploring a career in surgery. At the time, interest in the career was seen to be waning.
Sanju Sonbach, then a fifth-year medical student, discussed the idea of a student-run society that would lay the foundations of a surgical career through information, training and interaction with experienced surgeons.
Fast-forward to 2012, and 650 members are hard at work, under the enthusiastic leadership of society president Sean Tromp.
"We provide students with stimulation and interest in a career in surgery," explains society president Sean Tromp. "We provide lectures, workshops and programmes to enhance their knowledge about surgery, as well as the skills they might need in surgery and general medicine."
Consider it "the most advanced job-shadowing you can get", says Tromp.
UCT Surgical Society is currently the only student society of its kind in the country, but is working closely with medics-in-training from other institutions to launch similar organisations.
Society patron Professor Delawir Kahn, head of surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital, plays a key role in facilitating society activities, from dispensing technical advice to acting as the interface between the UCT students and the national surgical associations.
"Things wouldn't be possible without his help," says a grateful Tromp.
New events planned for 2012 include the inaugural 'Top Knife' competition (sit back down, wannabe ninjas), that will see UCT medical students (not necessarily surgical society members) test their skills and nerves under the watchful eye of experienced surgeons. Now, the big question: what's the appeal of surgery?
"It's fun!" says Tromp. "It's just fun."
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