Last week, MedSoc hosted Lieutenant Colonel Tom König, a consultant vascular and trauma surgeon and Consultant Surgeon in the British Army. He spoke about the trajectory of his medical career and his experiences at home and abroad. It was wonderful to see the talk attended by so many Eton and partner school pupils.

Lt Col König explained that the principal aspect of being a successful surgeon is accepting that teamwork is essential. Acceptance that you need others to achieve a shared purpose is vital in medicine, as you won’t make it all on your own.

I am a small part of a big team.

Lieutenant Colonel Tom König

One of Lt Col König’s proudest moments was his service in Afghanistan, where he worked as an Emergency and Trauma Surgery Registrar from 2009. His time in the Middle East coincided with the most intense period of the conflict and as a result he was thoroughly involved in the emergency damage control and resuscitative surgery for patients who suffered very serious injuries. During this period, he developed his expertise in neurosurgical, urological and major vascular procedures. He also evacuated the wounded from the battlefield by means of the Emergency Response Team Helicopter, back to the field hospital.

He continued this work as a Specialist Registrar in vascular surgery at King’s College Hospital, where he assisted in elective vascular surgery operating lists and provided emergency cover for vascular emergencies and vascular trauma.

The ‘best job in the world’, he remarked, was being part of London’s air ambulance charity HEMS, which operates a helicopter emergency medical service dedicated to responding to serious trauma emergencies in and around London.

Pupils leaving the society were buzzing with ideas about the potential of a future career in medicine, and for that we have to thank Lt Col König for coming to speak to us on a gloomy November evening!