Dr. Samantha Tross – Britain’s First Black Female Orthopaedic Surgeon Speaks

Britain’s First Black Female Orthopaedic Surgeon Speaks

Dr. Samantha Tross

BLACK EXCELLENCE: Samantha Tross – http://www.voice-online.co.uk/

MAKING HISTORY can often come with a lot of pressure. But for Guyana-born  Samantha Tross – the first black female orthopaedic surgeon in the UK – she takes it all in her stride.

“While I’m proud of being the first black female orthopedic surgeon in the UK, I know it comes with a lot of responsibility because how I conduct myself will have an impact on those coming after me,” she says. “It’s my job to do my best so that those coming after to me have it easier.”               

Samantha Tross was was born in Georgetown, Guyana on June 30, 1968 to Sammy and Gwendolin Tross. The second of four children, she went to St. Gabriel’s Primary School before her father was assigned to England and the family relocated. It during this time that she first developed her interest in medicine and pursuing a career in this field.

“As a child I developed an interest in medicine. It’s difficult to say where that interest arose from but I remember my grandparents lived with us and died whilst at home and as a result, I experienced death at young age,” recalls Tross. “I think that must’ve had an impact. At age 7, I expressed to my parents that I wanted to be a doctor and thats my first memories of my interest in this field.”

This interest in medicine developed more and more as Tross got older, as she eventually graduated from University College London in 1992, before pursuing a career in Surgery. At that time, her interest in medicine ranged from cardiology to psychology, but it was orthopaedics – a medical specialty that focuses on injuries and diseases of your body’s musculoskeletal system – that really took her fancy.

“When I was at medical school, I was exposed to many medical specialties, but when I did orthopedics, the surgeons were very encouraging and I liked that,” says Tross. “When you’re a student and around people with a busy work schedule, sometimes you can feel as though you’re getting in the way. But these surgeons really made me feel part of the team and useful.

“Also the first female surgeon I ever saw was an orthopedic surgeon and the specialty itself was fun. You see the benefits of your work very quickly.”

Tross’ surgical training was obtained at a number of London hospitals including The Royal London and Guy’s & St Thomas’s hospitals. These experiences would eventually lead her to becoming the first black female orthopedic surgeon in the UK in 2005.

“History was made in 2005 when I became the first black female orthopedic surgeon in the UK. It’s always still a shock to me to hear ‘you’re the first person to do this’ or ‘the first person to do that’ because it’s something that’s been a part of my work and should be the norm,” states Tross.

While this milestone is a notable one, Tross notes the need for a diverse workforce and the benefits of industries representing those from different backgrounds. “It helps if there’s someone you can relate to who understands some of the things you’re going through.

“Now that’s not to say one can’t do it without that, as when I did there were no black females, but as a result there were times where I felt particularly lonely and assumed perhaps that people may not understand the struggles I was going through,” she reveals. “When you have someone you can turn to for support, it makes it a lot easier.”

“However, I do feel the orthopedic industry is becoming more inclusive,” says an optimistic Tross. “There are now – to my knowledge – four black female orthopedic consultants in this country, so things have improved. I’m seeing more trainees and I expect there to be many more in the future – especially many more women. Diversity isn’t expanding as quickly as I’d like but it’s definitely improving.”

And Tross isn’t wrong about the slow pace of diversity in the industry. Only 11% of consultant surgeons in Britain are female, but the Guyanese professional notes the importance of visibility in aiding in this expansion of diversity, saying that we “need to make people aware of this career choice so that it’s something they would then think of as an option.”

For the 50-year-old, who was named one of the 100 Greatest Black Britons, no day is the same. If she’s not attending to trauma patients with broken bones or conducting clinics to monitor the progress of her patients, she’s teaching students, attending meetings and bringing more awareness to her profession.

This variety is in part why Tross gets so much enjoyment from her job – and she encourages other women of colour to do the same. “Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, be realistic in your choice and take time to know yourself,” she says.

“Also choose a profession that’s suitable to your personality, get yourself a mentor and don’t be afraid of setbacks because that is part of the journey.”

Samantha Tross–Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Princess Grace Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK (hcahealthcare.co.uk)

Source: http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/britains-first-black-female-orthopaedic-surgeon-speaks#.W_fuXzhC4Qo.linkedin

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 12/09/2018 at 12:16 am

    Sometimes I Wish the Obamas Wouldn’t ‘Go High’

    They were gracious to the Trumps. They had to be.

    Jemele Hill | The Atlantic

    The movie Mudbound helped me train for a half marathon last year. I watched it on a treadmill and it made me so angry that I didn’t even think about the tightness in my shins and hamstrings; it distracted me from the grueling workout.

    Mudbound is a tender and compelling story of black pain that’s set in the Mississippi Delta during World War II. The overarching theme — which is what enraged me — was sadly familiar:

    White people belittling, dehumanizing, and violently attacking black folks with impunity. Meanwhile, the black people have no choice but to act benevolently toward whites for fear of more punishment. It states in the white-supremacy handbook that those brutalized by racism must be virtuous in the face of indignity — because it would be inhumane to be impolite to racists.

    I felt Mudbound-level anger — and for the same reason — when I watched the awkward exchange between the Trumps and the Obamas at the state funeral for former President George H. W. Bush. The couples were seated next to each other. Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, both politely nodded at the first couple and graciously shook their hands.

    In that moment, I wished it wasn’t Michelle Obama who had coined the phrase When they go low, we go high.

    I sometimes wonder if the people who often cite that quote have a full understanding of the emotional toll it takes on people of color to have to constantly absolve the racism directed at them.

    The Obamas didn’t go low when they interacted with the Trumps, because that’s just not how they operate. And it’s not like I expected anything different at a state funeral. Former President Obama has always, always exhibited a maddening allegiance to institutional respect, even if it wasn’t returned. All too often, it wasn’t.

    Still, it was infuriating to see the Obamas graciously engage with the man who spent years vociferously promoting the racist conspiracy theory that the former president is a Muslim who wasn’t born in the United States. Also recall that Donald Trump repeatedly challenged Obama to produce his college-admissions records — because it wasn’t enough for Trump to try to invalidate Obama’s presidency, he had to question Obama’s intellect.

    Trump was rewarded with the presidency for his ugliness. And, as president, Trump is often given special credit for behaving like an adult, as he was at the state funeral. The Obamas were also praised for their magnanimity — but the difference is that the Obamas were the aggrieved party, NOT Trump.

    In her recently released book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes that she will “never forgive” Trump for spreading the “birther” conspiracy. But the Obamas didn’t have the luxury of treating Trump the way, for instance, Hillary Clinton did at the service. She looked like she would have rather sawed off her arm than acknowledge the Trumps. She gave the president and first lady a slight nod as they took their seats. Considering that Trump is still calling for Clinton to be investigated and jailed, the cold reception was predictable and warranted.

    But had the Obamas behaved like Clinton, they would have been accused of grandstanding and dividing the country even more than it already is. Or pundits would have said they lacked the grace and decency befitting a couple who once occupied the White House. A video clip of two black people showcasing visible anger toward the president would have been played over and over again on cable news.

    Most black people have been told practically since the womb that they must be twice as good to get half as much as anybody white.

    They have also been conditioned to believe that maintaining the moral high ground and being a bigger person is the only way to defeat racism. That often means suppressing natural human emotions that could communicate racism’s devastating impact.

    In October, a video went viral of a white woman, Teresa Klein, falsely accusing the 9-year-old Jeremiah Harvey of groping her in a Brooklyn deli. Klein went so far as to call the police — but surveillance footage proved that Harvey had done nothing wrong; he’d just brushed his backpack against Klein as he passed her in the store.

    The video was just the latest example of how black folks are punished and traumatized for simply existing in the same space as a white person.

    Klein apologized after watching the surveillance footage, but Harvey later told WABC in New York, “I don’t forgive this woman, and she needs help.”

    Predictably, some wondered if Harvey’s response was appropriate; but why was it incumbent on a young boy who’d been wronged to “go high”? It’s sickening to think what might have happened to Harvey if the entire incident wasn’t caught on camera.

    That’s one of the many burdens of racism for people of color:

    It is ridiculously one-sided. Only one side is expected to show compassion. Only one side must practice restraint. Only one side is pressured into forgiveness. It’s bad enough having to stomach being wronged. It’s downright shameful being stuck with the responsibility of also making it right.

  • kamtanblog  On 12/09/2018 at 6:24 am

    Guyana has got talent !

    Congrats to Samantha Tross and her family for achievement excellence !

    Kamtan aka compton 👽

  • Clyde Duncan  On 12/09/2018 at 4:22 pm

    Grafton from Barbados wrote:

    You guys always seem to get the best; don’t know how you do it.

    Dr. Tross not only has brains and skills but beauty as well.

    On the commentary about Obama, the writer must realize that the Obamas have class and will not drop to other peoples level.

    They have learned to rise above certain issues no matter how hurtful; it’s possible

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