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Junior Doctor Andy: "I do not believe in panic, it helps nobody"

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Andy Kong | 13:05 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Hello all! My name is Andy and I am from Hong Kong. I am one of the seven doctors who took part in the series Junior Doctors - Your Life in Their Hands and I would like to take this opportunity to tell everyone a bit about me.

Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands (Andy Kong)

Doctor Andy Kong

I was 14 when I came to the UK. I attended a boarding school near York called Ampleforth College. This school played (and still plays) a significant part in my life. It gave me confidence which is later reflected in my personal and professional life.

Being the son of a lawyer I have always had a natural affinity towards the legal field. However, soon after entering sixth-form I discovered that my father had wanted to be a doctor when he was my age but his health denied him the opportunity. This became the reason for me to wear the white coat.

My time in the medical school was not straight forward. I had doubts - Do I really want to be a doctor? Did I come into medicine for the wrong reasons? Should I change course and go back to law... I questioned myself over and over again, but eventually came up with a simple conclusion. I will finish what I started, I always had.

Being F1 (in the first foundation year as a newly qualified doctor) was a culture shock - I had responsibilities (real ones). I could no longer just decide not to go in because I did not want to get out of bed. Patients were actually ill, and I had to do something. My knowledge was being tested and tested, and I had to remain composed and look confident in the face of adversity. I do not believe in panic, it helps nobody.

It was an awkward feeling in the beginning when patients called me Dr Kong, it made me feel twenty years older and generally uncomfortable.

Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands (Andy Kong, Adam Beaini, Lucy Holmes, Katherine Conroy, Keir Shiels, Suzi Batchelor and Jon Barclay)

Andy Kong, Adam Beaini, Lucy Holmes, Katherine Conroy, Keir Shiels, Suzi Batchelor and Jon Barclay in Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands

F2 (the second Foundation year) is better, generally because I am no longer the ward monkey and there is some experience behind me. Starting in the children's ward was scary though, as I was so accustomed to seeing adult patients who would readily give me the information I ask for whereas with children I have to learn how to do my job while playing games with them. Simple procedures like taking blood become more difficult and heartbreaking when it is done on a child. It also takes some good skills to comfort anxious parents when their children are sick. Death and dying are even more unbearable. Saying that, it is not all doom and gloom. Often we see children coming to us drastically ill, but after a bit of intervention, they leave laughing and bouncing. The wonderful smiles from the children and their relieved parents are what motivate me to go to work everyday.

I signed up to do this documentary as I would like to show the world what being a junior doctor is really like, to remind the public that we are just ordinary human beings and we have a life outside work just like everyone else. The filming was tiring and time-consuming, I frequently had to walk through a door three times so the crew could catch the shots from different angles. They were outside my door before I got out of bed and still in our house when we went to sleep. They were very nice people though.

Anyway, enough said about me. I hope you enjoy the show.

Andy Kong features in Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands tonight at 9pm.

Add your comment.


  • Comment number 1.

    As an older and higher educated trainee in the health department of this country I feel really bad (maybe even offended) by the state of Jon's health. I am talking of course aboutone partocular person in "Junior doctors" and tonight was the final straw. Also considering Jon's age and the contents of Junior doctors, i feel you could have done better showing this program.
    Look at the state of this country: 3 out of 4 are overweight and are therefor prone to failure in many areas of life from bullying up to non-fitness and disability and ultimately disability and early death.
    Now, I am not saying that Jon is going to die soon, but he is so clearly having the WRONG lifestyle, especially within his doctors training: long hours, night shifts, very overweight (obese), some sports but being out of breath in an uncomfortable way to look at and then: binging in the pub????
    No guys, I do like it that you have this inclusive thing about it, and the program is very interesting, but it is wrong to show doctors that are giving the wrong signals, make it OK to be fat?
    There are PLENTY of normal weight doctors around. Please let us all try to promote health [Offensive comments removed by Moderator] Being fat is unhealthy, so please show us normal/average sized doctors to keep to the point. How can he ever tell an obese person to shed some weight in order to get the right surgery or treatment or lower bloodpressure etc etc? Does he smoke maybe?

    Lets be clear and clean...just show the right people within the right program frame. It would be great to see a doctor in a weight loss program (as a patient) come the participants in that are always the lower end of society?

    Get it right BBC: the society, wether you like it or not is divers, and much more "mixed" up than you portray us. It is down to you to do better than you are doing now. And then you have to decide what program needs to include who.


  • Comment number 2.

    Just a word of encouragement for Adam... I'm a recently qualified GP (2007) and I think you would be amazing in the specialty. You are thorough but have a good rapport with patients - something that is so important to them and makes such a difference to their care but is all to often lost in hospital medicine because of time pressure. Have a think about your career paths! Good luck in whatever you choose.

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree with Drjen- I too am a GP and also trained in newcastle (1998) on ward 52 and the EMU ( as Adam did ). He would be a great GP-. Lots of patient contact- lots of descion making, LOTS of responsibility ( too much sometimes) but also lots of stress. ADam would make an excellent GP. I know a lot of new doctors feel it is not as sexy as surgery- but 50% wil end up being GP's. Good luck to all of you ... think about General practice!

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi to you all.
    This is aimed towards Suzi. Your initial not knowing how to deal with the 'Barbi' tag upset me a bit, let me explain. As I've mentioned on here before, I've got numerous heath issues resulting from an accident I had 9 years ago, so I've been through the system a bit! YOU ARE DOING FINE, in my eyes, I'm 50 & spent 5 & 1/2 months in hospital between Eastbourne & Stanmore, 6 weeks of which I new nothing about. During that time, a few things went wrong including the worst of which was having a proceedure done under general anasthetic that I wasn't told about. I try to be phylasophical, basically told I was having one thing done only to wake up & find the thing I had asked them not to do, had been done. similar outcome, just not what they said they'd do!
    To get to the point, from what I've seen YOU are doing very well & as part of growing up, or should I say getting older, (& wiser), is dealing with given situations, HOW YOU DEAL WITH THEM is what will turn you into the future person, or professional, you become. Confidence in your abilities will beat the doubters, & should you make an error, get it put right, & learn from it. Easy to say eh, but that's life, it's just that any mistake in your proffession could be a bit more serious than most others. There are always people around you to help, don't be too embarressed to ask, the trouble with being young is you always think your elders know everthing, THEY DON'T, they are also leaning new things most days. Stick with it luv, I'd be more than happy for you to be one of the doctors I was under!!! CONFIDENCE & LEARN, LEARN & BE CONFIDENT!
    Regards, Neil.

  • Comment number 5.

    Well done you all 3 of you! My congratulations to everyone including your Trainers but I wish all of you had the opportunities I had in the 1950s! The present EU regulations restrict the opportunities in gaining practical experience although I agree that the hours shhould not be too long. When I graduated in 1957 my usual working week in the RVI was about 80-90 hours but I gained lots of hands-on experience. In my junior second post I did Paediatrics working in the old beautiful Childrens' Wards with their Doulton tiles depicting Nursery rhymes. I hope the tiles are replaced somewhere in the new RVI for everyone to admire them! My friend Mike Parkin became Prof Paediatrics. We loved children and did many Lumbar punctures for there was a meningitis epidemic at the time. When I became an SHO in the RVI on the Prof. Surgical Unit(equivalent to 2nd year pregistration) under supervision I did several appendixectomies and hernias a week and seconded to Plastic Surgery trained in the Hand Clinic. Subsequently trained by Prof Swinney and Keith Yeates I became Urologist and also worked as an Examiner for the RCS England. You all 3 have good motivation and talent and I wish you well, don't be discouraged for the early years are arduous but its all worth it. Great to see the RVI and Freeman again.

  • Comment number 6.

    Apologies I didn't mean just 3 Medics, my comments apply to all of you!! The combination of competence, courtesy and compassion is essential for doctors even when A&E is a battlefield! (Been there done that at the RVI!)
    I appreciated the remarks of the Urologist at the Freeman, its more difficult being a lady specialist doctor but it can be done. My wife worked full-time in General Practice and we have 4 children, it just means being organised to care and share and having lots of help particulary when the babies get unwell.

  • Comment number 7.

    This series is frank and revealing - alarmingly so for us PP's (potential patients). It has reinforced a conclusion I came to 15 yrs ago when a first time junior doctor was asked to insert a canula into the back of my baby's pudgy hand. Only afte his terrible screaming and distress and the assembled medics suggesting that I, his mother, wait outside (!!!!) did I realise Rule No 1. If a junior type doctor approaches you to do any procedure look them straight in the eye and ask the BIG Q - 'How many times have you done this procedure before?' If you are willing to let them practise on you fine (and often you are!) but not if it is your child or a tricky procedure. You have the right to say no I want someone else (and if they look nasty have BIG Q No 2 up your sleeve - 'If this was you or your baby/child/mother who would you want to do this procedure?).
    That memory is still painful - but suggesting I abandon my baby to their tender mercies the fourth time that the canula was inserted really was the pits...

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed these programmes and oh what joy that these doctors are just normal, pleasant human beings. Keep it up. Don't change.

    There are still, so called, 'experienced' doctors/consultants out there who speak down to patients, are arrogant and dismissive.

    You all come over as having a lot to offer the Health Service.

    Good luck and keep up the good work.


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