Old medical bag carries generations of hopes and wishes

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By Sally Crocker

Thirty-eight years ago, Dr. Lilly Ramphal-Naley received a special gift on her medical school graduation day. Now she has passed it on to a UNTHSC public health graduate who will soon be caring for patients himself.

The gift – a doctor’s bag – is probably over 100 years old.

It was presented to Nnamdi Maduabum, who recently passed his medical board exams and is applying for a residency position.

Dr. Ramphal-Naley served as Maduabum’s faculty mentor while he was studying for his MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the UNTHSC School of Public Health (class of ’15).

After graduation, he went to work for Catholic Charities in Fort Worth as a data and research specialist, and now he’s on to the next step in his career.

“This bag was given to me in 1979 by a 90-year-old doctor. He was barely standing. He brought it to my graduation. It was full of his thoughts, hopes and wishes for my future,” Dr. Ramphal-Naley said during the presentation. “I was young, but I knew it was a precious gift. So now I am passing this gift on to you.”

She advised Maduabum to “stay humble and grounded.”

“This bag is full of the voices of patients who have been cared for by a doctor before me, then by me, and now will be cared for by you,” she said. “Stay focused on them. Always apply your knowledge to do good for the most – to heal a village.”

The gift carries special meaning for Maduabum, who said, “I am honored to know that Dr. Ramphal-Naley thinks so highly of me and my desire to provide excellent medical care to the community.”


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