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Observations BMJ Confidential

Sabaratnam Arulkumaran: Dreaming of entering politics

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 08 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3069


Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president of the British Medical Association, is professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George’s, University of London. Born and educated in Sri Lanka, he has divided his senior career between the United Kingdom and Singapore. At St George’s from 2001 he reorganised and improved education, research, and clinical services—skills that led to key advisory posts for the UK and Irish governments. He has written 32 books and many articles and is president of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a pilot; the uniform and the leadership qualities in the advertisements attracted me. My ambitions kept changing, and after entering medicine I wanted to be a GP or an anatomy demonstrator. During my clinical years I wanted to be a consultant, and as a specialty trainee I wanted to be an academic.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My parents, who taught me to respect and help others. Their words were “I would rather hear from others that …

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