Dr. Avinash Bhakta, colorectal surgeon at the UK Markey Cancer Center, joins us for this week's edition of Making the Rounds. As a member of the nationally ranked Markey team, Dr. Bhakta treats patients who have colon and rectal cancers, among other conditions. Even though he didn't picture himself pursuing medicine as he grew up, he found his passion in helping others after volunteering in hospitals and that passion has remained steadfast ever since.
When did you become interested in medicine as a career?
I wasn't one of those kids that was born thinking that I was going do medicine. My parents were immigrants from India, and we ran a motel, so we grew up cleaning bathrooms, renting rooms, talking to a lot of people. It was understood that I probably would just inherit that or work in that.
It wasn't until college, when I started volunteering at some hospitals and learning the humanitarian side of healthcare, that I got interested in medicine. At that point, a lot of my friends were going into medicine as well, and I joined them in that track.
What do you enjoy about working here in Kentucky?
The big attraction here was that I could treat my patients like I would treat my neighbors or my own family. I think that's what my patients really appreciate when they see me – I wouldn't necessarily recommend something to them that I wouldn't recommend to my own brother or sister, mother, or father.
What is something that keeps you motivated?
I always tell my wife when I go home about when a patient truly gets cured and gets better. But they also give me thank you cards, which is what I appreciate, and that's what I have at home. When you're having a hard day, any type of rough day, it's what I go to, what I look at. Those cards are what get me through and keep me going.
If you had a free day to do whatever you wanted, what would your spend your time doing?
I would probably take my wife on a date. We recently discovered the Distillery District, where Goodfellas and Ethereal is. We also recently took a Woodford Reserve tour, which was really awesome.
Watch our interview with Dr. Avinash Bhakta to hear him explain why cancer care is his passion.