If selected to win the competition, Hevil Shah will be able to travel to medical clinics in South America. (WRDW-TV / March 7, 2012)
News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, March 7, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Something as simple as a bug bite inspired one GHSU student to go into medicine. Now his story has earned him a finalist position in a national competition.
Hevil Shah is a fourth-year medical student and one of 10 finalists for Take a Trip with Timmy, a group working to improve health conditions worldwide.
In high school, he went on a family trip to India and says his experiences from that trip made him want to become a doctor.
One morning on his trip he woke up with something on his hand.
"I just remember waking up and my hand, it was my left hand that was completely swollen. Couldn't figure out why. It looked like it was an insect bite," Shah said.
So he decided to go to a clinic in India and what he saw there changed his life.
"We are basically seen immediately and then the doctor gives me some medication and we're out the door in 15 to 20 minutes," he said.
Meanwhile in the clinic waiting room, sick children continued to wait.
"The child that I kept noticing was this one about 2 or 3 years old and he was just vomiting and having diarrhea the whole time we were in there," Shah said.
He was there when Shah got to the clinic and was still waiting with his father when Shah left.
"[His] dad was just doing whatever he could to clean it up. He had a couple of towels that people gave him and in the end he ended up having to take the shirt off his own back and wipe it down," he said.
Shah said that's the moment he decided to go into medicine.
"I was upset that that 2-year-old was in much more pain and much more distress than I was," Shah said. "He should have been one of the first people to be seen."
And Shah said the problem still exists in India.
"If you have the means, then it works out really great for you. If you don't, there's still a little bit of a bias," he said.
That story helped make Shah a finalist in a national competition and if he wins, he'll travel to clinics in South America.
"For me, it would be a great honor to work with children around the world, just get that experience and make life a little bit better for them," he said.
Shah says it doesn't matter where you are, pain is all the same.
"A child is sick, a child is sick. The same pain someone here will feel is the same pain they will feel, the same fevers, everything."
And it's those sick children that Shah wants to spend his life helping, all because of a bug bite.
Each finalist submitted an essay and then was selected to make a video entry. Those entries can be found online on YouTube. The judging will take into account the number of "likes" the video has on YouTube.
To vote for Shah, click here to watch his video, then click the like (thumbs up) button.
The winner of the competition will be announced on Monday night.