IM this article to a friend!

February 10, 2006

Youth clears every hurdle

From: Tamworth Northern Daily Leader, Australia - Feb 10, 2006

By Matt Adams
Friday, 10 February 2006

A CHILDHOOD illness left Andrew Sampson profoundly deaf and able to hear only with the aid of a cochlear implant.
Despite the hurdles he's had to face since then, the Quirindi teenager is embarking on a career in medicine that will one day see him become a doctor.

The 18-year-old will leave his hometown tomorrow for Newcastle where in less than two weeks he will begin studying a Bachelor of Medicine degree at the university.

After contracting meningococcal meningitis at the age of 11 Andrew was fitted with a cochlear implant behind his right ear in 1999.

Because of the implant a stethoscope will need to be modified for him to carry out practical work during his studies and further down the track when he starts work.

Andrew said a Melbourne-based company specialised in modifying stethoscopes for those like him.

"It just means instead of coming up to my ear like others do the stethoscope will connect to the implant," he said. "I'll have to learn how to use it because the stethoscope will be modified and therefore more powerful."

He said because of the modifications needed the stethoscope would cost about $800 and take a little time to get used to.

"There's a lot of hard work ahead of me," he said. "I'm ready for it though. It's exciting, but at the same time I'm a little nervous.

"The course I'm studying goes for five years and then a few more years' training after that."

Proud father Clive said Andrew had already put a lot of hard work in and was deserving of the chance to pursue a career in medicine.

"He had a choice of studying at the University of NSW in Sydney or the University of Newcastle, but chose Newcastle as it's closer to home," Mr Sampson said.

"He's determined. We're all very proud of him," he said, speaking as well for mother Helen, brother Jeremy and sister Felicity.

Andrew said that instead of living on campus he would be staying in a hostel with other medical students.

"I'm going down for O-Week just to familiarise my-self before the course starts on February 20," he said.

©2006 Tamworth Northern Daily Leader