Pamela Mehta (@dr.pamelamehta), MD
"My advice to women going into medicine or surgery is that you can absolutely do anything you put your mind to. You have every single skill set that a man does. I do think that we're still in a system where, as a woman, you do have to be almost close to perfect. You do have to be a little better than a man to gain the same amount of respect and opportunity that they do."
You have to study that much harder, you have to do the surgery that much more perfect. You have to discuss with patients more, and inspire some kind of confidence in them because men just do sometimes and women don't, unfortunately, in medicine and surgery than a man does but I think that it's okay because these things just make us stronger and better. We're better physicians and we're better for our patients for it." Pamela Mehta, MD. #RealCaregiversRealStories
I feel like I can really connect to patients on a different level because of that. I've had so many patients tell me, "You're such a different type of surgeon. You spend so much time explaining things to me, and asking me how I'm doing, and about my family and the other aspects of my life."
My parents immigrated to the United States in the late '70s. I think being in corporate America, they really wanted me to be in a field where I was my own boss and where I had control over things, so they really encouraged me and my brother to go into medicine. It was in my final years in college and even the beginning of medical school that I realized that this really was my passion and what I wanted to do.
I don't think there are a lot of women, unfortunately, and I cannot understand why, because I enjoy it so much. The women that I have met in the field, which is far and few between, are such rock stars and it's very difficult to be such a small minority in a field of all men.
Being married in medicine definitely has its difficulties in terms of trying to be at home for our children and to provide this life with them where they don't feel like mommy and daddy are always working, but the wonderful thing about my husband is that he's so incredibly supportive of what I do.
I feel like we have this great camaraderie because we're essentially in the same field of medicine, and he totally gets it when I'm running late from work or have to add on a surgery, and I get it when he's got that going on as well. We make it work because we both pretty much are the modern couple where he does drop-offs and pickups, and cooks and cleans just as I do and I think we just split it really well I have two toddler boys, they're 15 months apart.
Their names are Gugin, which means the sky in our language, and Arjun, which is also a strong name in the Punjabi or Hindi language.
While surgery is an incredible part of my life, I sometimes have to sacrifice because I do have children at home. Whereas I felt that I was equal to maybe a man in orthopedics or just somebody else in the field of medicine, I no longer feel that way because I do have kids I have to think about. I may want to stay at work extra and read a little bit more about my case, or go to a presentation on something, but I have to get home. I have to make dinner for the kids and read them bedtime stories and put them to bed, and I enjoy that so much.
One of my greatest heroes is my own mother. I am so inspired by her. She is an immigrant woman who came to the United States and she had an education from India, and decided she wanted to be a role model for me and my brother, so she went and got her MBA.
She was a full-time mom. My father and her didn't have a lot of money. They were very middle-class, so they didn't have a lot of help in child care. She went to school at night while my dad worked during the day.