No matter if a doctor saves hundreds or even thousands of lives during their career, they always remember the very first life they saved. For Antonio Webb, M.D., the first life he saved wasn’t a patient, but his own. The orthopaedic surgeon resident, motivational speaker and now, published author, escaped becoming a statistic of his grim Shreveport, Louisiana upbringing and is using his story to inspire others.
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“Sometimes at work in my office by myself I shake my head; I can’t believe that I’m in the position where I’m at because I know that coming out of Louisiana – coming out of Shreveport – I definitely should not be in the position where I am today,” Webb said in a recent phone interview.
Reading his story, you might find it hard to believe, too. In his new memoir, Overcoming the Odds, Webb chronicles his miraculous journey from seeing friends and family go in and out prison growing up, including his own mother and younger brother; to fighting in Iraq and dealing with the after effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) even to this day; to being rejected for medical school; to performing critical emergency surgeries in Liberia during the most recent and fatal Ebola outbreak.
From an early age, Webb always loved working with his hands – breaking things and putting them back together – but if it wasn’t for a high school program that introduced him to the possibility of becoming a doctor, he believes he’d either be dead or in jail now.
“My entire life I’ve been faced with a lot of failures and faced with a lot of obstacles, especially applying to medical school to become a physician,” the award-winning medic recalls.
“I applied three times. I got rejected my first two times around. That first time was extremely hard. I actually got off the phone with my advisor and cried, wondering why no one picked me up for medical school. I had to get back up and get back to the drawing board and work a little bit harder.”
The hard work hasn’t stopped and he’s overcoming struggles on a different level these days. Webb is the only Black orthopaedic surgery resident in his program and at the end of his 14-hour days he goes home to read and study to perfect his craft even more.
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More than being a good surgeon, Webb wants to inspire people – particularly youth from rough backgrounds just like him – and show them that success is possible and offers this advice: “No matter what type of environment you’re from, no matter your upbringing, no matter what you’ve been through in the past, you have the opportunity to create a future for yourself as long as you work hard, put God first and continue working hard.”
Overcoming The Odds: Why Antonio Webb, M.D. Is Called ‘The Miracle Doctor’ was originally published on blackdoctor.org