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Support From My Family

By Hua Tang, MD

At age 36, my family moved to United States. My wife and I gave up our medical practice. I was an orthopedic surgeon and my wife was an internal medicine physician in my native country. After we moved here, we had very difficult time in the beginning. My wife and I had to do different jobs in order to survive.  

After a few years, we finally settled down and had decent jobs. We started to try to get back to medical practice. I did different kinds of jobs. No matter what I did, my passion about orthopedic surgery or any surgery never diminished. At that time, I had countless dreams that I was operating. I was very depressed. I thought that I would never be able to operate again. I realized surgery is what I loved.

Luckily, I was accepted by a general surgery residency program. Finally, I could be in operating room again! After I finished a 6-year-long and hard general surgery residency, I was almost 50.

We were at the point where we had to make an important decision. I had a general surgeon job offer, but a hand fellowship also gave me a match. Should I start my general surgery career or continue with my dream to go to the hand fellowship?

I was struggling with the decision. On the one hand, I knew that orthopedic surgery was my passion. On the other hand, I wanted to give my family a better life as soon as possible after such a long and uncertain time. My wife and my son sacrificed a lot to help me to pursue my surgeon career in the United States. I thought that it is time for me to contribute to my family. 

My family gave me the most support. They understood me more than what I understood myself about my career goal. My wife and I had a long talk. My wife told me that I would be much happier if I chose hand surgery because she understood what my passion is. 

She was very right. After many years, I realized that she helped me to make the most important and best decision of my life. My previous orthopedic surgery experience and my life experience made me a much better surgeon. I enjoy my hand surgery practice very much. 

From my bottom of my heart, I really appreciate my family’s support in my career pursuit. They are my motivation. They helped me through this long and hard road. Without them, I could not have done it by myself. Although it was a very tough route, it enriched our life experiences. We understand each other and love each other more. It also made me a much happier person and a much better surgeon. 

Comment (1)
Andrew Palmer
August 13, 2021 12:21 am

Dr. Tang,
What a great story about your family, life journey and your love of Hand Surgery. I am delighted you chose Hand Surgery. The ASSH is blessed to have you in our midst.
Best regards


Andrew K. Palmer, MD
Professor Emeritus
Upstate Medical University
Syracuse, NY


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