Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Dr Gabriel Ukala- Physician and Author

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMKarrie Williams
Dr Gabriele (right) signing a copy of his book.
Dr Ukala shows off his book at the recent book launch.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

When renowned physician Dr Gabriel C. Ukala first began keeping a diary of his rounds on the hospital ward, he had no idea that his writings would one day manifest into a leading medical text - Clinical Dialogues in Hospital Medicine.

Written over a three-year period, starting in February of 2011, Clinical Dialogues in Hospital Medicine is Dr Ukala's attempt to simplify medical literature and make it both easier to read and to understand - not just for student doctors and those undertaking other forms of medical training, but for everyone with a quest for knowledge.

The book gives a detailed analysis of Dr Ukala's years of patient care in Jamaica, and seeks to explain varying illnesses looking at their symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment methods. It contains more than 150 clinical, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic images and photographs, as well as other illustrations.

However, Dr Ukala was clear to point out that his book does not seek to replace other established medical texts, but rather to enhance the overall learning process involved in medical training.

"It is no secret that medical textbooks are usually difficult to read. They are often dry, with so much information, and the average student is left with no choice than to cram a lot of these materials for examination purposes. Clinical Dialogues in Hospital Medicine, does not seek to replace any standard text of medicine," Dr Ukala said.

"Rather, I have described a number of medical conditions frequently seen in ward rounds in a format that showcases speaking and teaching from the bedside, with the hope that the simple language, clarity, and imagery of real-life patients will help students and clinicians in their learning process," he continued.

Nigeria-born Dr Ukala is the acting head of Internal Medicine at the Mandeville Regional Hospital and managing director of Integrated Medical Services Limited, also located in Mandeville. Having lived in Jamaica with his family - wife, Sonia and daughters, Ezinne and Osezim for several years, Dr Ukala was at times restive about his island life. He longed for the opportunities of living in a First-World country, and often thought about migrating to America. He was inspired to write Clinical Dialogues in Hospital Medicine after doing some soul searching about finding his purpose in Jamaica.

According to Dr Ukala, the answer came, "when I shifted my focus from seeking to acquire material things or to live in the better places of the world, to looking for a way to uplift the community in which I live - the community that has given me so much love, and by so doing, has also enhanced my own life. It became a question of what can I give, what can I leave behind that would not only help this community now, but also generations to come?"

Dr Ukala credits his close friend and confidant, Dr Lawrence Adu, who practises psychiatry in the United States, and his supportive wife and children for finally giving him the push he needed to start his book in February of 2011. He continues to build on his extensive catalogue of photographs, clinical scans and other materials, so the possibility exists that there may even be a follow-up medical text on the horizon.