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Cardiovascular Surgery / Meriter Medical Group
Why did you choose your specialty?
From an early age I wanted to be a doctor. I later thought I wanted to be a neurosurgeon but the outcomes sometimes for them were just not pleasant to me. I’ve always been fascinated with physiology and the heart. Our patients usually come with some horrible thing where they’ve had a heart attack and can hardly do anything, and we do revascularization or replacement of a valve and then they regain. It’s like a phoenix from the ashes. They come back to where they were. So that’s why I felt this was a good fit for me.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Taking care of sick people involves getting to know them. You have to know their point of view and values, and that has to go into what you’re doing. It has to start right from the first time you meet them and it has to be a part of everything you do. What they want and what their values are dictate what happens. Without a doubt, it’s the human interaction that makes it great. I’ll have someone come up to me and say, “Oh, Dr. Gilliam, you operated on me fifteen years ago.” There is nothing more satisfying.