Less than 48 hours after returning from Darfur, Sudan, Sanjay Gupta spoke to about 600 people at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Ed Landreth Hall Auditorium.Gupta talked about his experiences reporting and being a doctor from around the world.
“Look deep inside yourself and figure out what challenges you, makes you want to get up in the morning, and run to that,” Gupta said.
Gupta is the senior medical correspondent for the health and medical unit at CNN, the chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University, according to a TCU press release.
He said the audience responded best to the stories and anecdotes he told about his experiences.
Gupta reported in Sri Lanka after the tsunami. He said he set up his equipment for a shot with a family whose home had been ruined and noticed the mother took the time to comb her sons hair with her fingers. He said he couldn’t believe they cared enough to try to look nice for the camera after just losing their home. After the shot was done he said the little boy came running over to him with crackers in his hands for Gupta. He said though the family had nothing, they worried about him going hungry.
He also told of a soldier who was found in the field after being shot in the head on the day the statue of Saddam Hussein came down. His fellow soldiers presumed he was dead, but Gupta said he was able to operate on him. Two months later when Gupta returned to the United States he said he received a phone call from a doctor in San Diego who said he wanted to update Gupta on the progress of his patient. Thinking the soldier would barely be alive, Gupta said he was shocked to hear the soldier only had a little weakness in his left hand.
“That was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life,” Gupta said.
Because the audience contained students, faculty and community members, Gupta said he wanted to address why a doctor would be journalist and how he manages everything.
He said he has learned to balance his reporting, being a doctor, family life and other activities by understanding what is possible for him to get done in a realistic amount of time.
“Information does not mean knowledge,” Gupta said.
The important part of medical news is relating it to situations that catches audience interest, Gupta said.
Ash Nyangani, a junior computer science and math major, said he wanted to hear Gupta because CNN had sought Gupta out to be on television after he had established himself as a doctor.
“He said do the thing you love the most,” Nyangani said. “That was really important to me.”
Peggy Watson, director of the Honors Program, said she wanted students to take away an appreciation for current events. Gupta was chosen because he is connected to American culture, the media and the sciences, she said adding that the event was interesting and went well.
Josh Long, the Fogelson Honors Forum event coordinator, said Gupta was a great addition to the Fogelson Honors Forum that he thinks people will remember for a long time.
He has spent time reporting from places such as Iraq, Israel and Kuwait, the aftermath of the tsunami in Sri Lanka, an AIDS conference in Bangkok, Thailand, and has won many awards such as “Journalist of the Year” from the Atlanta Press Club in 2004 and a National Headliner Award this year, according to a TCU press release.