UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 5 |
May 5, 2005
Global Experiences Shape New Doc’s Vision
By Hilary Thomson
Even as a high school student in a small B.C. town, Faculty
of Medicine graduate Carly Peterson was looking for international
She left Merritt to spend a year in Japan as an exchange
student, living with Japanese families while going to school.
She became fluent after a few lonely months learning the language.
And, at 6 ft. 2 in. tall, she was a welcome addition to the
school’s basketball team.
After completing undergrad studies at UBC, Peterson entered
med school, partly influenced by her mother’s career
as a nurse. Putting her personal life on hold and confronting
the suffering of patients and their families have been tough
parts of the last four years, she says. Meeting some “amazing”
friends and mentors, and running, have helped to keep her
She was surprised by her interest in anaesthesiology.
“I always thought I’d be heading toward surgery,”
says the 28-year-old. “But it was anaesthesia that fired
my enthusiasm. There’s a deep satisfaction in manipulating
the complex interactions of physiology and pharmacology. Anaesthesiology
is really the application of medicine in its purest form.”
The diversity of care and patients influenced her choice
to work as a perioperative physician, a doctor who provides
care before, during, and after surgery.
Her international outlook was reinforced earlier this year
when she accompanied a UBC group to Uganda to help promote
the study and practice of anaesthesiology.
Working at a teaching hospital in Kampala, the country’s
capital, Peterson saw antiquated equipment and health problems
rarely seen in North America, such as untreated birth defects,
but also patients who were “so stoic.”
The experience strengthened her view that doctors have a
social responsibility to share their skills where they are
“You can give so much as a doctor.”
Balancing her life with sewing, pottery and running with
her dogs, Jack and Diane, Peterson is eager to get started
on her five-year anaesthesiology residency at UBC and a career
that is sure to include international service.