New surgeon joins Westmead Hospital

SURGEON: "I would not have become the surgeon I am today without the support of my mentors, colleagues...family and friends," Dr James Toh said. Picture: Geoff Jones

SURGEON: "I would not have become the surgeon I am today without the support of my mentors, colleagues...family and friends," Dr James Toh said. Picture: Geoff Jones

Surgeon James Toh pursued a career in health to make a difference to the lives of his patients.

“I believe that being a surgeon allows me to make a real difference,” the former James Ruse Agricultural High School student said.

“It’s a noble profession, one of achieving high standards in the pursuit of excellence.”

After attending medical school at the University of New South Wales, he trained at a number of hospitals nationally and internationally to chase his dream of becoming a surgeon and slipping on the scrubs.

He worked in many hospitals, from major tertiary referral centres including Liverpool, St George, Royal Prince Alfred, Bankstown and Concord Hospitals, to more regional centres such as Fairfield, Wollongong and Shellharbour, as well as Tweed, Gold Coast and remote centres in the Northern Territory.

“I’ve also trained internationally in MASTC in Hong Kong as well as being the International Visiting Robotic Surgeon in Robotic Surgery at Korea University Anam Hospital,” he said.

“After almost 20 years, I will be back in the Hills again as the newest surgeon to join Westmead Public and Private Hospitals.

“Westmead is a great hospital with a reputation for excellence in medicine, surgery and research. It is undergoing an amazing transformation and redevelopment, and I am hoping that I can make a difference.”

I am hoping that I can make a difference. - Dr James Toh

The general and colorectal surgeon – whose main clinical interests are minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery and endoscopy, cancer and inflammatory bowel cancer research – is currently completing a PhD on outcomes in colorectal cancer.

The member of the Colorectal Surgical Society Australia and New Zealand (CSSANZ) said what he loves most about his job is “the challenge”.

“I love the clinical and technical expertise required to be a great surgeon and I am passionate about being involved in ground-breaking research,” he said.

“Being a good surgeon requires a steely resolve, long-term mindset, genuine passion, patience and focus.”

The 35-year-old said aspiring surgeons should be prepared to put in the hard work.

“The training is not easy, the hours are long and you can’t do it alone,” he said.

“My advice is to role model surgeons who inspire you. I have been lucky to have had incredible mentors and professors who have helped me become the surgeon I am today.”

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