In this section, we highlight the human side of clinical academic medicine, putting a few questions to a physician at DMS-DHMC.
John Seigne, M.B.
Associate Professor of Surgery (Urology)
Seigne (pronounced "sing") was educated in Ireland and has been at Dartmouth since 2004. A urologic oncologist, he focuses on kidney and bladder cancer and has research interests in immunotherapy, metastatic kidney cancer, and physician-patient communication.
When did you decide to become a doctor? On some level, I always wanted to be a doctor. What I like is the combination of personal relationships and science. One moment you can be talking about what it means to be an organic egg farmer and the next thinking about how a tumor alters the immunological function of a dendritic cell. Not only is medicine fascinating, but you get the chance to make a material difference in someone's life.
How did you decide on urology?
By mistake. As a medical student in Ireland, I thought I wanted to be a general surgeon and so did an elective rotation in surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. When I finished, I still had to complete two weeks of additional clinical work to meet my medical school requirements. I had met a urology resident and he was so enthusiastic that I rather reluctantly agreed to spend the two weeks with the urology service. It was my experience during those two weeks that showed me the breadth, fascination, and satisfaction of urology. I have not looked back.
What are you proudest of and why?
My family. They make it all worthwhile.
Finish this sentence: If I had more time I would . . .
Get home early, get that research project off the ground, play another game of squash, read that pile of journals, fix the tractor, leave work with a clean desk, dig the asparagus bed, learn to type . . .
What famous person, living or dead, would you most like to spend a day with?
Winston Churchill. He had periods of incredible political success alternating with periods of political oblivion from which a lesser man would not have recovered. He understood the importance of when to stand up and be counted.
He learned from hard experience how and when to use military power. He enjoyed food, wine, and conversation, so I imagine the day would be at minimum entertaining.
What's your favorite nonwork activity?
I am an enthusiastic though mediocre squash player.
What about you would surprise most people?
That it took me three attempts to pass my driving test.
What do family and friends give you a hard time about?
I tend to be a little dogmatic.
What music is in your CD player right now?
We have a five-CD player with the following on shuffle: The Proclaimers' "Sunshine on Leith," Black 47's "Fire of Freedom," Van Morrison's "Back on Top," "The Tommy Makem Song Bag," and Leonard Cohen's "I'm your Man." Next up is Verdi's "Attila," but that will not be on shuffle.
Who or what inspires you?
Witnessing the successes, both small and large, of the residents I have helped to train.
What advice would you offer someone new in your field?
Listen to your patients. What they tell you will be the most important clue to what is wrong, even in this highly technological world.
If you'd like to offer feedback about this article, we'd welcome getting your comments at DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.
This article may not be reproduced or reposted without permission. To inquire about permission, contact DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.