Thursday, March 11, 2021

Post Graduate Experiences

In my previous post, we covered the Lord's faithfulness that was evident in Dr. Andrew Stenhouse's Residency. Now in this segment, we'll cover his post graduate experiences of God's faithfulness.


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Len: Welcome to A Willing Heart to Please the Father! This is Len Lacroix, and I'm here tonight on the program with my guest, Dr Andrew Stenhouse, and we're continuing to talk about his life story.

Tonight we're discussing his post-graduate experiences of God's faithfulness. So, Andrew, I want to welcome you to the program, once again.

Dr. Stenhouse: Len, thank you for introducing me! And I would just like to thank everybody that’s listening and bring glory to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Len: So beginning with the [post-graduate] exam, can you talk about that?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, I can. The final year after graduation from medical school is the senior registrar year. And during this, you’re able to take an exam in the Royal College of Australasian Physicians. And this is a prestigious exam and only has a very few people that ever graduate from this.

When I took it at the beginning of that year, I was the senior registrar to the dean of the medical school. And, as part of my duty, I took this exam at that time.

The exam itself consisted of several portions of exam papers, followed by a long patient case and then multiple small, short, questions, and substances that we had to discuss. 

In this exam, twenty people were being examined from both New Zealand and Australia. And at the end of the sessions, only two of us passed out of the twenty. So it only had a ten-percent pass rate. So you could see that it was very, severely judged, and persons had to make no mistakes at all! But then you had to go over and above that, with what you said.

I was the only one from New Zealand to pass, but there was a doctor from Australia that had come over to take the exam, because it was from the Australasian College of Physicians, which is both Australia and New Zealand.

During the exam, the long patient that I had was a patient of some rarity. The Lord had me, during the year, take and read and put into my memory the new, long, difficult cases that were coming up across the world (e.g., in the New England Journal of Medicine).

And it so happened that the patient I had was one of those cases; he was about number fourteen out of twenty cases that I had memorized and taken into account.

The doctor that examined me did not believe that I had not seen the patient before, and he asked me, several hours later, I must have seen the patient before. 

I said, “No, sir, I haven't.”

Then he went, saw the patient; the patient said, “No,” he hadn’t seen me before, although he indicated to the examiner he wished he had.

And it turned out to be an obedience that I had on going through these long cases; one of them was this very patient that I diagnosed correctly. And I give all glory to the Lord…

Len: Wow! That’s amazing!

Dr. Stenhouse: ...because if He had not given me that instruction, then I would never have done that on my own accord.

Len: Yeah! So the exam, now—just so that I understand it--was mainly written, right? So you had the written account of this patient’s long case. Is that correct so far?

Dr. Stenhouse: Well, we had a series of different things. We had long cases that we had to see and examine and short cases that we had to see and examine. And then we had papers to write on subjects we didn't know ahead of time what they were to be.

Len: Okay.

Dr. Stenhouse: And then we had pathological specimens that we had to identify correctly. It was a long and involved examination over several days.

Len: So this patient that had the long case, which was already written up in one of the medical journals that you had been reading each month, they had that person there at the hospital for you to see? I mean, I don't understand that part. Did you actually, at some point, see them or not?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, that was my long-case exam that I had to go in the room with--he and I only--, and I had to examine him, and so forth, and then look at the x-rays that were provided for me.

Len: Okay. And, with the case that was written up in the medical journals, had they yet figured out in the medical journals what the diagnosis was?

Dr. Stenhouse: In the diagnosis part, this had been diagnosed correctly by the doctor that wrote up the patient.

Len: In the journal.

Dr. Stenhouse: That’s right.

Len: So you had read that story, and then when you got this case--you said that the doctor that was overseeing the exam asked the patient if they had seen you before, and they said, “No;” and you hadn’t seen them. But then you did eventually have to see them for the exam piece, right?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes. They asked me to see him, and I correctly made the diagnosis, because it fit exactly the patient that I had seen in the medical journal, several months previously.

Len: Was it actually the same person or just the same kind of case?

Dr. Stenhouse: The same case, not the same person.

Len: Okay, that helps, because I thought it was the same person. So thanks for clarifying that. So that's amazing!

Well the next thing I would like to ask you to talk about--because a moment ago you mentioned being the senior registrar to the dean, but actually I think that was the title when you were at the teaching hospital--you were the senior registrar to the chief professor of medicine.

But this next piece here, you became the chief resident of the dean of the medical school; that was something different, right, from the senior registrar?

Dr. Stenhouse: Being the senior registrar to the dean of the medical school was even higher than being registrar of the chief of medicine. And so it was a promotion, as well, for my final registrar year.

Len: Okay. Was it chief resident or senior resident? What did they call it?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, chief resident or senior resident would be fine—either way.

Len: Yeah, so are there any experiences that you had in that role that you wanted to share?

Dr. Stenhouse: Well one of the things that came up was that the dean's daughter was sick, and I was asked to see her. And I made up a diagnosis, and the dean did not agree with me that this was the correct diagnosis of his daughter.

So we got the professor of surgery to come in, because I said the patient required surgery. And the chief of surgery, who was an older doctor, agreed with me and agreed with the findings on x-ray, that surgery was needed. And so that the dean agreed that we should go ahead with the surgery, and the surgery proved us to be correct.

Really, it points out the fact that the doctor shouldn’t really examine or take a history of his children.

Len: Yeah.

Dr. Stenhouse: Get them to a doctor a doctor that does that.

Len: Yeah. Now what about the Wellcome Research scholarship that you ended up receiving? Do you want to tell us about that?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, one of the things that I was approached to do was to apply for the first New Zealand recipient of a Wellcome Research Fellowship and to do it in experimental virology with the professor in Sheffield, England--the professor of medicine at Sheffield England who was a virologist also.

So this was what we applied for, and what we, by God’s sovereignty, went into. And so this was an interesting time, as well, to do post-graduate degree, to do post-graduate research and to also take the London School of Medicine exam, similar to the Australasian one, only it’s a little more difficult.

Len: Okay, so tell us about the sea voyage to England to go to Sheffield for that work--that research fellowship.

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, well it was very interesting on the sea voyage going to England. I was able to go there for two shillings and six pennies if I would be acting as the doctor onboard for the seamen, you know the—

Len: Oh, the crew?

Dr. Stenhouse: The crew.

Len: Not the passengers?

Dr. Stenhouse: They had ten passengers, as well.

Len: Okay. So you were agreeing to be the doctor for everyone on the ship.

Dr. Stenhouse: That’s right.

Len: Okay. And so that's pretty interesting! And was the trip kind of uneventful, or did you have any interesting experiences?

Dr. Stenhouse: No, it wasn't uneventful. Every day I would have an appointment with patients that needed to see me. And this particular day, what happened was that one of the sailors went to work. And when he was at work, they emptied the swimming pool, and he didn't know that. And so, when he got off work, he got his swim-gear on and then dived into the pool that was empty and broke his neck and injured his spinal cord. So I had to manage him medically with a fractured neck and pressure on his spinal cord, which was kind of tricky and difficult. 

And then I had a patient with acute appendicitis, that I had to manage medically, and another patient with a fracture.

And the man who was the captain of the ship told me that he didn't think he could wait for me in Curaçao, which is a port where we stopped to fill up the ship with whatever we used to go across.

Len: The fuel.

Dr. Stenhouse: And I said, “Well we've got to get these in the hospital.” I said, “They can’t wait.”

So we got ambulances lined up, and I took them to the hospital at Curaçao, where they had--this was a Dutch island—a resort thing in the northern part of the South America Peninsula.

Len: Oh!

Dr. Stenhouse: So I got them all safely tucked to in over there and then just got in time back to the ship, where they were filling the ship up with the gasoline. And we took off within the hour of my getting back…

Len: That’s cutting it close.

Dr. Stenhouse: …, because he was wanting to break the record of the time to get half-a-million sheep from New Zealand to England.

Len: So the ship was carrying sheep?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes.

Len: Half-a-million sheep?! 

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, dead sheep.

Len: Oh. Okay. Wow, that's quite a load--quite a bit of cargo there! So how many--do you know how long it took to get there--from New Zealand to England?

Dr. Stenhouse: About thirty days.

Len: Okay. That is pretty fast to go from that part of the world all the way around to England.

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes.

Len: So did you end up arriving on time?--or early?

Dr. Stenhouse: No, we arrived on time, and he was quite happy about it. 

And there were one or two days I would be seasick and having to see somebody; and I would be lying down, and the patient would be standing up. So…

Len: Interesting!

Dr. Stenhouse: You just have to run with whatever comes.

Len: Yeah. So when you got to England did you make that phone call to--tell us about the phone call that you made to whoever your contact was over there for the fellowship.

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, I made contact with them, and the doctor--that was the manager of that particular job he had, which was identifying people for jobs in London or near London from people who came from overseas -- he called me, and he said, “Dr. Stenhouse, I know you have a fellowship to do two years with the professor in Sheffield,” but he says, “I've got a letter here that I've never seen so much good things said about one person. And I could get you any job in London you wanted to have.”

Len: That’s amazing!

Dr. Stenhouse: So I said, “Well I’d love to meet you.” And so I went and met him, and I told him I wasn’t going to change what had been arranged.

Len: Good.

Dr. Stenhouse: And so that was the end of that; I didn't see him again.

Len: So did you publish any papers for any journals during that time?

Dr. Stenhouse: Well, yes, at the end of the time I was working there, I did patient studies, I did lab studies, and I did isolation studies on new organ cultures of different animals.

And so I isolated different viruses and was able to publish two papers by myself, which is very unusual to do that. 

Len: Which journal was that, Andrew?

Dr. Stenhouse: This was in the British Medical Journal—two separate papers. And, as a result of this, things opened up all over the place if I had wanted them, but I didn't pursue them.

I would just like to reiterate that this may sound like me, but it really is the Father and the Son being so faithful to me and faithful to everybody that opens up their hearts to Him. 

Len: Yeah. Amen.

Well that's a great testimony, Andrew. I think we're going to conclude there for tonight, with your post-graduate experiences. And we can definitely see the hand of the Lord--how he got you through your post-graduate exam and all the way through to the point where you had written those two papers by yourself there in the British Medical Journal.

[Note: See articles 1 and 2 in Medical Articles Published by Dr. Stenhouse.]

So thank you very much for sharing all that on tonight's program!

Dr. Stenhouse: You're so welcome! And I'll pick up there with the post-graduate exam of studies and results at the beginning of the next program.

Len: All right. Until then, thanks very much, and have a good night!

Dr. Stenhouse: You too, Len! Thank you so much!

Author's note: The next chapter in this story is Experiences with the Lord in England. See the Home page of this blog for more podcasts on the life of Dr. Stenhouse. You may access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master. Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"


Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. 

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