Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Increasing specialised medical offerings to patients throughout the region, Mediclinic Newcastle officially welcomed Dr Thamsanqa Buthelezi, a neurosurgeon, to their dedicated team. Opening up, Dr Buthelezi states he views neurosurgery as a passion and life mission, backed by family sacrifice and hard-won experience, all fuelled by a desire to give back to society.
When looking at his journey into the medical industry, the doctor says, his career as a neurosurgeon initially began as a dare by his sister, Bongekile. But little did he know; this would result in him developing a steadfast desire to help others continuously. “I will be sitting somewhere and will see someone walking strange, and I will think to myself, why are they walking like that, and how can I help them?”
Qualifying in 2016, Dr Buthelezi elaborates on his career, pointing out, it was during his second year at the Medical University of South Africa, now known as Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU), that he discovered an ardour for Neurosurgery.
In particular, the love was ignited during a dissection, whereby he found himself captivated by the “labyrinthine path” of the nerves and vessels of the brain and spinal cord. “It was like human engineering. I asked the demonstrator about the speciality of medicine performing these operations.” The response was neurosurgery, and he has been obsessed ever since. So much so that after qualifying and completing his community service, he returned to SMU for Neurosurgery training, earning an MMed Neurosurgery degree after registrarship, which is where he settled on his sub-speciality, Cerebrovascular surgery.
After just a year as a qualified Neurosurgeon, Dr Buthelezi then left South Africa to further his studies in Thailand, after receiving his family’s and ailing father’s blessing. However, he had to cut his studies short and return home after three months, when the family patriarch and his “mentor and hero” passed away. After the funeral, he made the difficult decision to continue his Thailand training and went on to complete an Interventional-Neuroradiology Fellowship.
Dr Buthelezi highlights, when looking at neurosurgery as a career, it is a path requiring intense patience and nerves of steel. The doctor expresses, this facet of the medical world looks at the central nervous system pathology, focusing on brain and spinal diseases and how these ailments can be addressed through surgery. “When it comes to neurosurgery, there are no fishing expeditions. You need to investigate the patient’s condition thoroughly and be precise during surgery. One mistake can see you damage the patient’s ability to speak or even the function of one of their limbs.”
Having worked in Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital – SMU and Steve Biko Academic Hospital (UP), both in Gauteng, and Livingstone Tertiary Hospital in the Eastern Cape—Dr Buthelezi declares he feels honoured to be “ploughing back” into his home soil of KZN with the Mediclinic Newcastle team.
His future goals at the private hospital entail developing neurosurgery to the extent where there are at least two to three neurosurgeons working beside him. The reasoning behind this, he stresses, is due to the large area Mediclinic Newcastle covers. “People from Newcastle and neighbouring towns receive referrals to see neurosurgeons, which the hospital will now be able to start addressing, but I want neurosurgery to grow substantially in town.”
Additionally, he aspires to reach out to children from impoverished areas, educating them on the importance of furthering their knowledge of the medical world and learning of the various fields they can specialise in. Born to parents who never went to school themselves but sacrificed everything to back their children’s education, his childhood growing up in Mhlangandlovu in rural KwaZulu-Natal comprised of chores like herding his father’s cattle and attending school which required a long walk along a gravel road. Looking at this, he says, “Back then, we never knew about neurosurgeons, and I want to change this.”
With the kind-hearted and highly motivated Dr Buthelezi joining the local private medical institute; accompany us in welcoming this new, Newcastillian to the community.
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This post and content is sponsored and provided by Mediclinic Newcastle