Imagine rushing through elementary school in two years, spending two years in middle school, and dedicating another two to high school before graduating on your 14th birthday. Ridiculous, right? However, this scenario has proved all too real in the world of medicine, where some renowned physicians completed their studies at lightning speed.
The field of medicine is as challenging as it is marketable. Little wonder it’s one of the highly sought-after professions. The COVID-19 pandemic in particular even further increased the demand for qualified medical personnel. Nonetheless, the journey to earning the coveted title of M.D. is a long and tedious one.
Young doctors are rare since they must spend a lot of time learning their trade. However, the world hasn’t been short of surprises in the medical field – there are indeed some very young doctors out there. Today, we’ll be focusing on the youngest surgeons in the world, including fun facts that will amaze you.
Let’s dive in!
8. Dr. Ncumisa Jilata
Medical School: Mthatha’s Walter Sisulu University (WSU)
photo source: thisisafrica.me
There are about 500 neurosurgeons in Africa, and Dr. Ncumisa is the youngest. The ambitious doctor was born in rural Engcobo in South Africa. She developed an interest in medicine when she was in grade 11.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t studying biology at the time, so she had to take up biology classes in Matric alongside other subjects she was studying in grade 10. It was in one such biology class that she developed an interest in neurons, and became passionate about pursuing neurosurgery.
Dr. Ncumisa attributes much of her success to her mentor Dr, Coceka Mfundisi. Speaking to Eastern Cape Daily, Dr. Ncumisa revealed that Dr. Mfundisi broke a couple of barriers for her; hence, she was instrumental in the young doctor’s admittance to the Council of Neurosurgeons of South Africa.
Did You Know?
Dr. Ncumisa’s achievements were acknowledged by then-Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
7. Ola Hadaya
Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine
Specializes: Obstetrics and Gynecology
photo source: www.rutgers.edu
Dr. Ola Hadaya owes her passion for medicine to her Syrian physician father. He encouraged her to follow in his footsteps, and negotiated with different schools to allow her to skip the 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades. Meanwhile, Dr. Ola’s stay-at-home mother was a mechanical engineer. She helped little Ola grasp Math and Science concepts.
Dr. Ola majored in Middle Eastern Studies. The decision was fueled by her desire to learn more about her Syrian roots. Ola’s brilliance saw her graduate from high school at only 15 years of age. She was also among the fewer than 300 applicants who secured a slot at the prestigious Wayne State University School of Medicine.
At the time of her admission, Dr. Ola was just 17 years old. She graduated four years later at the age of 21, earning a Doctoral degree and a slot in the list of the youngest surgeons in the world.
Did You Know?
While growing up, Ola loved to draw in Manga—a Japanese art style.
6. Iqbal Mahmoud Al Assad
Medical School: Cornell University – Qatar Branch
Specializes: Pediatric Cardiology
photo source: alchetron.com
Iqbal Al Assad wears many hats. For one, she is among the most influential women in the Arab world. Graduating at the age of 20, El Assad is also the youngest female Arab doctor. In other words, she acquired her doctorate before she was even able to legally drink in the U.S.
Born February 2, 1993, Dr. Asaad was such a brilliant girl that she learned algebra by just listening to her father teach it to her brothers. She went ahead to excel in math and biochemistry, and graduated from high school at 12 years old.
Moved by Al Assad’s outstanding performance, Lebanon’s minister for Education Khaled Qabbani helped her secure a scholarship at Weill Cornell Medical College Qatar Campus. Interestingly, she was fully sponsored, and never sat for an entrance examination.
Did You Know?
Iqbal Mahmud Al Asaad is a Palestinian refugee. Consequently, she plans to open a free health facility for Palestinian refugees.
5. Riana Helmi
Medical School: Gadjah Mada University
photo source: perdana.my.id
Riana Helmi was only 17 years old when she completed her medical studies. However, Indonesian rules dictate that doctors must be at least 19 years old to be considered doctors. Thus, Riana had to wait until 2010 to receive her degree, making her the youngest doctor in Indonesia.
Dr. Riana owes much of her success to her parents, who encouraged her to focus on her studies. She also admired and was careful to follow her instructor’s advice, which further fueled her excellence. Even with these inspiring people in her life, Dr. Riana was an extremely bright child. By the age of three, she could read and write!
Although she was preoccupied with her studies, Dr. Riana recalls having adequate time to play and go shopping; however, as she grew, dating wasn’t among the activities she was interested in.
In addition to her high intelligence, Riana’s instructors reported that she was also a socially and psychologically mature student.
Did You Know?
The Indonesian Record Museum (MURI) awarded Riana a plaque, recognizing her as the youngest doctor in Indonesia.
4. Serennah Harding
Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Specializes: Internal/Osteopathic Medicine
photo source: al.com
Serennah Harding doesn’t come from an ordinary family. Her father is a retired helicopter pilot. Her mother, a nurse, resigned to focus on homeschooling Serennah and her nine siblings. This was necessary, since Harding’s dad kept moving from place to place as duty demanded.
Interestingly, all nine children attended college by age 12, which probably explains the origin of the family’s nickname—The Brainy Bunch.
Dr. Hardings was only 16 when she graduated from Huntingdon College. She majored in cell biology. On top of that, she was just 18 years of age when the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine admitted her to their medical program.
Did You Know?
Harding draws her motivation from her father’s selfless service in the military. She keeps his Airforce Wings pinned under her medical coat when on duty.
3. Baramulali Andati
Medical School: Mount Sinai School
photo source: accelerate.uoregon.edu
The list of youngest surgeons in the world would have ended here if this article concerned doctors who’d studied medicine in college. Dr. Andati specializes in Ophthalmology, which allows him to perform emergency and transplant surgeries. He also offers implant prosthetics services.
Born in India, Dr. Andati’s intellect runs extensively in his family. His father was a renowned engineer, his mother a brilliant mathematician. Little wonder that Dr. Andati could tackle calculus problems at the impressive age of four.
Baramulali Andati completed his high school studies at 11 years old. He was 13 years of age when he graduated from New York University.
Four years later, Dr. Andati was awarded a medical degree from the highly competitive Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. He was just 17 years old at the time.
Besides training surgeons in Ghana and Malaysia, the doctor currently works with Flying Eye Hospital.
Did You Know?
Baramulali Andati hails from Tamil Nadu’s Vellore in India. His family moved to the U.S. when he was three. In 1995, he entered the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s youngest doctor.
Medical School: Aristotelianism
Specializes: Medicine, Aromatherapy, Philosophy, and Science
photo source: iep.utm.edu
The field of medicine owes a lot to Avicenna. Also known as Ibn Sina, Pour Sina, or Au Ali Sina, the famous philosopher wrote over 450 books. Of those, 40 were on the subject of medicine.
One of Avicenna’s most remarkable contributions in medicine was the Canon of Medicine, an encyclopedia that was used for reference in many universities until late 1670. This encyclopedia is one of the reasons why Avicenna is considered the father of early modern medicine.
Like most children with a high IQ, Avicenna was no exception. By his 10th birthday, he was reciting the entire Quran. At 16, the polymath was practicing medicine and had an amazing mastery of physics, mathematics, metaphysics, and logic.
Did You Know?
Although his father and brother converted to Ismailism, Avicenna remained a die-hard adherent of the Hanafi school.
1. Akrit Jaswal
Medical School: Punjab University–India
Specializes: Zoology, Botany, and Chemistry
photo source: geniuses.club
Akrit Jaswal is arguably the youngest surgeon in the world despite not having studied medicine. Before becoming famous, Akrit was a household name.
His exceptional abilities were first noticed by his mother. For instance, Arkit is said to have skipped the toddler stage, and started walking at ten months. By the age of 5, the child prodigy was reading William Shakespeare’s plays.
Noticing Akrits unusual intellectual capacities, his parents bought him biology books. Similarly, doctors were moved by Akrits quest for knowledge. They allowed him to observe operations when he was just six years old. That formed the basis upon which little Akrit performed surgery on an 8-year-old girl who’d suffered severe burns to her fingers, leaving them fused. The video is available on Youtube.
Did You Know?
Akrit was only 11 years old when the Imperial College of London invited him to discuss his cancer theories. He is passionate about finding a cure for the disease.