Professor Brian Devitt is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Professor of Orthopaedics and Surgical Biomechanics at Dublin City University. He studied medicine at University College Dublin and has a particular focus on the knee. He is also my brother and given that he has spent that last 8 years in Melbourne, Australia and we have only seen eachother a handful of times in this period, I am excited to sit down with him and touch base on his medical career and outlook.
We start with what motivated Brian to study medicine, which was a continuation of a family tradition, and how he came to orthopaedics as a speciality. We spend some time on what excites him most about this area today – the massive advances in surgical techniques, the integration of surgical interventions with other lifestyle changes and advances that are making a massive change to the quality of lives of a population that is living longer.
We examine then the fusion of medicine and sport, given that sport, and rugby in particular, is another one of Brian’s passions and we ask what techniques in sports rehabilitation can be applied to the general population. We move then to the issue of medical training and assess the four different jurisdictions in which Brian has practiced medicine – Canada, the USA, Australia and Ireland. We look at how the approaches to training and practice compare and ask what is best practice in each place.
Finally we turn to reflections – on the surprising fulfillment of blending academic work with surgery, on the importance of patient communication and on the need for restraint when intervening in a surgical way. We cite influential figures as well as words of wisdom and overall the importance of emotional intelligence as a way to “get on” and succeed in medicine.