Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations BMJ Confidential

Saleyha Ahsan: Trust me, I’m an activist

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 07 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k932
Duncan Smith


Saleyha Ahsan is a doctor working in the accident and emergency department at Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital in Bangor. Born in Essex, she trained at Sandhurst and served in the British army in Bosnia, rising to the rank of captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Inspired by the work of doctors in conflict zones, she left the army in 2000 and trained as a doctor in Dundee while developing yet another career presenting television documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. These include Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, as well as many reports from frontline trouble spots such as Syria, Libya, and Kashmir.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be an independent activist against injustice. This came from listening to my father’s strong opinions against inequality and from being allowed to stay up to watch the Ten O’Clock News. And from my mother, whose advice remains, “Stand on your own two feet.”

What was your best career move?

Gaining a place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for officer training. In 1997, as a captain, I stood in a field hospital watching my soldiers and doctors manage a Bosnian patient with a traumatic amputation after stepping on a booby trap explosive device placed in his …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription