Anthony Watkins, MD, is an assistant professor of surgery in the Department of Transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He received his medical degree at Fisk University in Tennessee and completed residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, NJ. Watkins now appears on ABC News, NY Med.
Have you ever looked through a microscope to examine organisms? In my case, there was no tinted lens, and I certainly felt exposed and somewhat vulnerable as a news crew followed me for several months with a much larger and magnified microscope – an HD video camera.
This all started when I was checking labs on patients. I am currently a transplant surgery fellow at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, one of the busiest transplant centers in the country. The past couple of days were very busy and intense, when I got a call from Erica Baumgart, a producer at ABC News about appearing on “NY Med.”
I was baffled. All I heard is that she wanted to film me. I thought it was a misunderstanding at first as I am not one of the senior surgeons. I just assumed that I would be some supporting figure like one of the kids in “Modern Family.”
Well, let’s just say I got that one wrong.
Yes, the mavericks and the world-renowned surgeons were key components, but as I learned that day, I too would be prominently featured. At first, conversations with colleagues and patients felt awkward and strained as on-lookers stared while the cameras rolled capturing my daily life in the hospital.
Days later, however, a peculiar thing happened – the cameras vanished – at least in my mind. The ABC News crew redefined the word deft. They were like Zen masters – omnipresent and yet invisible which made me more comfortable and I was able to return to my natural self.
This experience was quite an adventure. Now that the big microscope is gone, I realize what an immense value “NY Med” offers to our society. It truly is one of those rare occasions on television where viewers get the chance to witness the-behind-scenes-look of what it takes to become a transplant surgeon; and I am happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of this compelling series.
It is tough and challenging to become a doctor, but its rewards far outweigh the blood, sweat, and tears we face to reach the goal of becoming experts in our field. As anything in life, there are triumphs and failures, and transplantation is no exception to that rule
My goal is to always strive for the victories, understand that the failures are an inevitable part of humanity, and bring a little joy to the paths I cross.