Becoming a doctor was always in his path

Dr David Van Der Poorten
Dr David Van Der Poorten from Westmead Hospital.

If anyone has a good story about pushing hard and achieving a dream, it’s Dr David van der Poorten.

Dr Van Der Poorten is a Clinical Associate Professor and staff specialist in gastroenterology.

Despite certain views from representatives at the selective school he attended, he has gone on to establish a career he loves, and has introduced a life-saving treatment to treat Clostridium Difficile (intestinal infection) at Westmead Hospital.

Dr Van Der Poorten said he was told by his high school teachers to not even think about medicine.

“Teachers at my high school thought I wasn’t smart enough, even though I was in one of the State’s top selective schools and achieved a HSC result of 98.75,” Dr Van Der Poorten said.

“I pushed on though, because I felt it was my path.

“When I was 15 I saw my grandmother get very sick with heart failure. After being told she was about to die, the doctors saved her. I was amazed at this process and after that moment I only wanted to be a doctor. I decided to do whatever I could do to achieve my dream.

“There are so many people out there who think they aren’t smart enough – but if you work really hard, anyone can achieve what they want. If you have a dream, do something. Don’t focus on how hard it will be to do it.

“After years of hard work, I’m so grateful to do what I do today. I see patients at their most vulnerable, at times they don’t have hope and are really distressed. To be able to help people in that setting is so rewarding. The definition of a great job is something you enjoy even when you’re not at work.

“I’m really proud to have introduced faecal transplants to Westmead Hospital. This treatment is curing people with Clostridium Difficile (a life threatening intestinal infection). It is one of the ultimate examples of a proven treatment and cure,” said Dr Van Der Poorten.

“I think my grandmother would be very proud of what I’ve achieved.”