03 Oct He Fixes Faces…. and Bodies
“Black Men in Medicine”
–Who is Dr. Wilton Triggs?
Quickly stated: a kid from Triana, Alabama! I come from humble beginnings. My parents were blue-collar workers; they got a divorce when I was young. Like everyone else, things were hard at times. I’m the first doctor in my family. At an early age, I was taught that I had to make good grades in order to have a good living. I can remember while living with my aunts, I wanted to have a better life for my family and my future family. Taking care of my family was my main goal.
Personal progress is an everyday endeavor. Also, “stay hungry and stay humble” has always been my mantra and what has kept me grounded.
-How did you become interested in medicine?
Small things like certain TV shows, and I always wondered how and why people felt ill. I wanted to know what was going on inside the body on a microscopic level. During undergrad, I wanted to be an engineer; I stayed in engineering until my junior year. While in the program, I was a member of the honor society. Attending a medical university (UAB), I got caught in the med school hype. Engineering was kind of tough, so I switched over to chemistry and minored in mathematics. I was a Gates Millennium Scholar coming out of high school; I also received a number of other merit-based scholarships. I was recruited out of high school to mainly 1A and AA programs in football, so I stuck with academics.
I never really had a good experience with a doctor; I can count on my hands how many times I went to the doctor as a kid. Most of my exposure was from TV and hearing about family members being sick.
–Tell us about your daily tasks as a plastic surgeon.
I usually check our electronic medical records daily before 6 A.M. to first make sure all of my patients are OK, then to see who has been admitted. Most people don’t realize it, but plastic surgeons handle burn trauma, facial trauma (broken bones in the face), hand surgery and hand infections, reconstruction of limbs after orthopedic surgery, and reconstruction of the closures performed after cardiac surgeries. We also handle reconstruction after a mastectomy when cancer is removed and the reconstruction of cleft palates and cleft lips.
After I check the records, I walk the floors and check on the patients; we usually begin surgery around 7:30 A.M. Some surgeries are scheduled, sometimes we get calls, and sometimes we get add-on patients from other units. After surgery I go back over the records and check on the patients again. Before the shift ends, we have what’s called “running the list/sign out,” where we actually call the next doctor and give updates of ALL of the patients.
–Any advice for young Black males or individuals interested in pursuing medicine?
Shadow some doctors because it’s a long road; make sure it’s something you can see yourself doing. Med schools are not looking for brainiacs; they are looking for people who can communicate well, well-rounded individuals who are sociable. Other than that, stay hungry and stay humble!
-How can readers keep up with you and your work?
Social media: @ifixfaces on IG and Wilton L. Triggs II on Facebook.
This article was written by Justin Sims, (IAMMRMENTOR), In hopes of not only inspiring entrepreneurs, but young black males to be the best and the truest version of themselves.
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