Back then several years ago when I started with my residency program, I struggled a lot making sense of what radiology was all about. I found it extremely difficult to understand simple concepts. There was a longing for quick references with precise images with least possible text description. I made a promise to myself that I will one day create a quick reference website for beginners. I spent some time deliberating on it and then coined the name for this website radiology4beginners. It is meant to be a quick reference. We all know quite well there is very little time to spare during the very busy day of a resident physician. I intend to gradually add more content over the next coming years.
This website is dedicated to medical students and resident physicians, especially from the third world with special emphasis on Sierra Leone, where there are very little resources to access vital information. I came from a humble background and I know what it means to have easy access to the right information.
I hereby invite all those who share this vision and have similar vision to help me make this dream a success. I intend to make it a community project. I am just taking the initiative to jump start it. You can help by sending me relevant (medical) images and I will upload them to the website. The journey on ongoing and lifelong learning has just begun.
I am absolutely passionate about radiology: someone once told me Radiology is my life and now I understand why. Nowadays it is not very common to meet medical doctors, who can tell you they are passionate about their choice of career. As the saying goes “I found what I love doing and I never worked again”. I wake up every morning looking forward to another great working day.
During the early days of my residency and along the way, I’ve met several nay Sayers. Those who’ve doubted everything I did. They would say to me “Radiology is not meant for people like you”. I must admit though, that I was really struggling at the time, not only to keep up with the residency program, but I also had a lot of difficulties reporting findings and expressing them adequately – especially in German, which is not my mother tongue.
Before starting medical school, I attended a very rigorous and intensive language course for six months upon my arrival in Germany. It was by no means an easy ride. I kept telling myself: “Samuel, there is nothing unprecedented about what you are doing. A lot of people have done what you are doing now, including your dad, why not you? Failure is not an option”.
Medical students in Germany are required to have practical experience in hospitals to get themselves acquainted with the hospital environment either before starting medical school or during the first two pre-clinical years. After 6 months of my language course I started my practical at the University Clinic in Bonn, Germany. I was asked every day to work with a nurse or alongside a nurse. One day a nurse told me: “Samuel, even as a native German speaker, I couldn’t get an admission into medical school. You can’t even speak German properly and yet you want to study medicine? You are just wasting your time”. I said to myself, “this is a challenge. You can either accept what she tells you or prove her wrong”. I have countless stories like that. When I decided to do my doctoral thesis in the United States, I went to a genome lab with virtually no idea. The last time I’d had a pipette in my hands was in the sixth form at Prince of Wales Secondary School in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where I did my A-Level exams. Someone in the neighboring lab scoffed at me and said:” Samuel, you don’t even know how to handle a pipette correctly, how on earth do you intend to finish your doctoral thesis? How did you arrive in this lab?” I was fired up again and decided to put extra work into it. With the help of my mentor Dr. Se-Chan Kim and Prof. A. Knowlton, UC Davis, I was able to finish my experimental work. We had it published in a renowned journal and I was able to present it.
I could vividly remember those moments when I used to call Prof Knowlton after isolating cardiac myocytes on weekends and telling her I had only 50% viable cells or that the experiments over the weekend didn’t go well and she would tell me:” Sam, you are making slow progress.” She would never yell at me. In retrospect, undoubtedly one of my best moments in medical school.
Why am I telling all these personal stories about me? There are a lot people in a similar situation like I was. I want to motivate them not to give up on their passion. Don’t let anyone distract you. If you put your mind to it and are willing to pay the price(sacrifice), nothing can stop you.
As the late Zig Ziglar puts it: “The elevator to success is out of order, but the stairs are always open.”
Brian Tracy sums it up: “The price of success must be paid in full, and in advance.”
– Dr. med. Samuel Kobba