Sanjay Gupta (born October 23, 1969) is an American neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine and associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sanjay Gupta (2011) "Finding My Path in Life" in: Guideposts magazine, April 2011 (online)
I was a bookish kid. I spent long hours in the library reading everything I could find, histories, biographies, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries. I was curious about the world and there’s no better way to find things out than through the pages of a book. Even today if some kid asks me what’s the first step to take to become a doctor, I answer, “Read, read, read.”
I was in my teens when our family faced a medical crisis. My grandfather, with whom I was very close, had a stroke and landed in the hospital. Sitting anxiously at his bedside, I watched nurses come and go, checking his vitals and looking at the monitors attached to his body. I remember sitting there wondering what could I do to make him feel better—to bring back the warm, thoughtful man I knew.
It was the neurosurgeons who fascinated me. When they explained what they could do surgically to help, I thought, I want to be like them. I want to know what they know and have the ability to heal like they do. Eventually my grandfather got better, and my path in life was started.
The big one is coming, and it's going to be a flu pandemic (November 7, 2018)
Experts say we are "due" for one. When it happens, they tell us, it will probably have a greater impact on humanity than anything else currently happening in the world. And yet, like with most people, it is probably something you haven't spent much time thinking about. After all, it is human nature to avoid being consumed by hypotheticals until they are staring us squarely in the face. Such is the case with a highly lethal flu pandemic. And when it comes, it will affect every human alive today.
Pandemic flu is apolitical and does not discriminate between rich and poor. Geographical boundaries are meaningless, and it can circle the globe within hours. In terms of potential impact on mankind, the only thing that comes close is climate change. And, like climate change, pandemic flu is so vast, it can be challenging to wrap your head around it.
When most people hear "flu," they typically think of seasonal flu. No doubt, seasonal flu can be deadly, especially for the very young and old, as well as those with compromised immune systems. For most people, however, the seasonal flu virus, which mutates just a little bit every year, is not particularly severe because our immune systems have already probably seen a similar flu virus and thus know how to fight it. It's called native immunity or protection, and almost all of us have some degree of it. Babies are more vulnerable because they haven't been exposed to the seasonal flu and older people because their immune systems may not be functioning as well. Pandemic flu is a different animal, and you should understand the difference.
Panˈdemik/: pan means "all"; demic (or demographic) means "people." It is well-named, because pandemic flu spreads easily throughout the world. Unlike seasonal flu, pandemics occur when a completely new or novel virus emerges. This sort of virus can emerge directly from animal reservoirs or be the result of a dramatic series of mutations -- so-called reassortment events -- in previously circulating viruses. In either case, the result is something mankind has never seen before: a pathogen that can spread easily from person to defenseless person, our immune systems never primed to launch any sort of defense.