Life inspiration (and beyond) from a doctor without borders

Andrej Spasovski

Andrej Spasovski

3 minutes read

Wed Apr 5, 2023

Focus Tomas Sebek
Doctor, pilot, entrepreneur, salesman, mega-dad...Tomas Sebek is truly a fascinating person. Inviting him to speak at our latest Focus session was a no-brainer - with a life like his, there's bound to be tons of stories, anecdotes and lessons from his travels and adventures to inspire us.

Who exactly is Tomas Sebek? First and foremost, a surgeon - Tomas has 20 years of experience serving multiple missions with Doctors Without Borders in countries like Haiti, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Yemen. Tomas is also a co-founder of the virtual hospital and pioneering telemedicine project, which aims to improve the future of healthcare. But this only scratches the surface of how much Tomas has accomplished. 

In an emotional and harrowing presentation, Tomas took us through some of the, frankly, miraculous interventions he’d performed on locals, including many children. We’ll spare you the graphic details and stick to the practical advice he took back with him, and what we can learn from it. 

"Flying a plane is a lot like performing surgery - once you’re in, there’s no stopping until it’s done. Panic, nerves, fear, no matter - you can’t give up with the patient opened up in front of you, and you can’t just get up from your pilot’s seat in the middle of a flight. You have to see it through to the end." 

"There's a way to deal with crises - whether in Afghanistan, in your company, or in your personal life. If you're overwhelmed by inputs and the crisis is raging, try to close your perimeter. Focus on your area of competence and your task at hand, and avoid distractions as much as possible. Once the crisis has passed, you can start to open up and take on tasks outside your expertise."

"In South Sudan, people deal with the war by sharing. With the doctor, with the priest, with anybody around them. Just by sharing what they feel and fear, they’re able to keep their spirits and their sense of humor. Sharing what’s on our mind makes us stronger. When a person is sick in South Sudan, their entire village accompanies them to the hospital to make sure they’ll be all right. We’re used to taking antidepressants and sharing just basic things about our life with our therapist, which isn’t enough."

"If you drive a car, you know that there are tons of sensors that warn you before your car breaks down, that tell you something’s wrong. It’s the same with your body. Listen to it. Prevention makes sense."