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Dr. Jonathan Berger's unexpected career path led to a passion for surgery

June 17, 2019 / in Our people, Transplant / by UK HealthCare

Making the Rounds

In this week's edition of Making the Rounds, we touched base with Dr. Jonathan Berger, a transplant surgeon at the UK Transplant Center. Dr. Berger treats both children and adults and specializes in liver, kidney and pancreas transplants. We talked to Dr. Berger about everything from how he became interested in medicine to what gets him excited about his job.

When did you know you wanted to become a doctor?

I’ve always been a science-y type of guy. But I’ll be honest with you, in college, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was a history major, so I studied American history. I took pre-med courses and did well enough to move forward with my career.

I liked medicine, and I liked working in hospitals, so I went to medical school. I still didn’t know what I was going to do. Thought maybe pediatrics, maybe internal medicine. But I rotated on surgery and didn’t want to do anything else. That’s how I got going.

How do you build trust with your patients?

Whenever someone calls me Dr. Berger, it kind of freaks me out a little bit. I introduce myself as Jon, one of the surgeons here at UK. I try to be as warm and compassionate as I can. I try to take care of patients like they’re a member of my family, and I hope they feel that way.

What's the coolest part of your work?

Seeing patients getting better. Some of them are so sick that they can’t talk or can’t walk or can’t eat. I think the most rewarding thing is seeing a patient turn the corner and get better and get out of the hospital and get back to normal. I love seeing patients interact with their families, their kids, their grandkids.

Once in a while, we’ll do a transplant, and things will go great, and they will go home. I may not run into a patient for awhile. I ran into a patient who I had not seen for two months who was on death’s door when we did her transplant. She is dynamite now. She’s back home with her kids and her family. That’s the best thing.


Watch our interview with Dr. Jonathan Berger to learn more about what it takes to be a surgeon.


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