I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be Guest Editor this issue. It has been a hectic few months, being Faculty at Vegas Cosmetic Surgery 2014, ICAD Sao Paulo 2014, AMEC Paris 2014, and AMWC Columbia 2014. I have also had committee meetings in London and Paris to plan new speakers for AMWC Monaco 2015 and RSM ICG-7 2015. Soon, I prepare lectures for the AAAM Mexico 2015 and the 3rd Asian Gender Singapore 2015. One nice distraction from academia was winning the ‘2nd Beauty and Anti-Aging Trophy’ in Paris last month. This peer-judged award was given for the ‘Best Medical Case’ in treating cancer cachexia. I was also selected for the ‘Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award’ in Ireland in recognition of orphanages I recently opened in Liberia and Haiti. Now back in Dublin, I turn my attention back to administering an aesthetic and international hair transplant business while still in the middle of an economic recession. Well, at reflective times like this I ask myself: why I still do it all?
I suppose, focusing on the academia, the first bit is easy. At the risk of sounding hubristic, but rather in way of explanation, I’ve been involved in scientific research from a young age. While still a teenager, I won both the British Amateur Young Scientist and the Irish equivalent Aer Lingus Young Scientist competition. This affection for science led me to study a Hons Degree in Biochemistry in Belfast before obtaining my medical degree at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. In the early pioneering days of aesthetic medicine it helped me to look at the ways we do things and question whether we could do them better. In 2004, I developed a technique to treat HIV lipodystrophy patients using facial implants, thereby reducing the needle-stick injury incidence from Sculptra®. It was adopted in many countries before better antiretroviral drugs became the norm. More recently, I won two MyFaceMyBody awards for innovations using PRP, micro-needling, and red light phototherapy simultaneously to restore dermal collagen and initiate hair growth. I applied some of these techniques to cancer cachexia as little had been published about restoring facial aesthetics in these patients. I felt the time has come where cosmetic dermatology could play a vital role in restoring a patient’s features in conjunction with a hospital-based nutritional system. The results of my research are published in PRIME next month.
Today, we face a new epidemic of Ebola. As I write this editorial, part of me is contemplating spending another Christmas in Monrovia, Liberia. One of the first medical deaths from this plaque in Liberia was respected doctor William Tandapolie, in the township of Caldwell right beside our orphanage. There has been a deluge of western press coverage, focusing on barricading the patients in and closing their borders, believing that isolating affected nations will be enough. As a doctor, I feel this is absurd. If airlines discontinue air travel in and out of the Ebola-stricken countries, they will no longer be able to receive the resources they need to control the virus and it will then spread to all neighbouring countries. Conversely, we need to send as many doctors and nurses as humanely possible, well-trained volunteers (including military) to hang the drips and isolate the sick patients. As a doctor, our primary duty is to help the sick, which about wraps up the second reason I continue to do all this.