This month we talk to Dr Ralph Abraham (Br. 1959-63). Ralph came to Brighton College as a boarder and is the founder of London Medical and the London Diabetes Centre.
Ralph shares the advice he would give to a current Brighton College pupil, and explains a bit more about what his work involves.
- When you were at Brighton College, what did you want to be when you 'grew-up'?
I always wanted to be a doctor. When we lived in India, we lived next-door to a German doctor who had fled the Nazis in Berlin to Mumbai in India. He was cultured and learned and had a wonderful family. He was always encouraging me to study and take school seriously and when I left India for Brighton College, he came to wave me off and told me to always “think before you speak, and never to speak before you think”. He was a dear friend and a wonderful human being, who truly inspired me.
- Tell us about yourself now you've grown up.
Thirty years ago, I recognised a patient’s need for choice in treatment options and consultant, and for the delivery of effective safe immediate care for my patients. My private practice allowed me to achieve this and its earliest incarnation is how London Medical was born, and its success and our philosophy are backed by patients both in the UK and abroad. I am the Founder and Clinical Director of this award-winning private outpatient clinic. As a Consultant in Diabetes, I am at the cutting edge of treatments for my patients and this year, we started our first few patients on the “artificial pancreas” which completely normalised their glucose levels. I hope to continue the remarkable transformation in the treatment and outcomes for people with diabetes that I have witnessed in my lifetime
- What is your best memory of school?
I had a wonderful Chemistry teacher, called Dr Adrian Adams. He was a maverick and a brilliant teacher and was important in my getting into Merton College Oxford to study Biochemistry. Several of us went on to study chemistry at university due to his inspirational teaching. I also was a Choral Scholar and so was very involved in music in the College and remember playing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the School Orchestra; the Sarah Abraham Recital Hall remembers my mother and her determination to make music a part of our education.
As well as this, as a boarder, Brighton College was like a family to me and my brothers and treated us like their own. There was – and still is – a spirit at Brighton College. One of caring for one another and looking out for one another.
- What advice would you give to a current Brighton College pupil?
Life is full of breaks, and when you are given opportunities, take them with both hands. You may not get another.
- What do you do as a career?
I work as a Consultant in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Lipid Disorders. Over 40 years, I have built up a huge practice in that time, founded London Medical about 30 years ago, and starting The London Diabetes Centre more recently. This is the largest, most comprehensive private diabetes clinic in the UK, winning the Diabetes Clinic of the Year. Our vision is to grow and grow and become somewhere anyone with diabetes and hormone problems get expert and comprehensive help in the right way. It has established a really good reputation that I am really proud of.
- What does your job involve?
As well as being the Clinical Director, I spend my time seeing and treating patients, troubleshooting, innovating and supporting staff and colleagues. I work closely with the managers, helping the practice grow and develop.
- What are the best parts of your job?
- I find it very exciting staying at the cutting edge of medicine and research, and it’s brilliant when everything falls into place when treating someone and I have discovered what is wrong with them and know how to treat them.
- What is the single thing that would most improve the quality of your life?
Right now, being able to travel! But nothing, really. I am very happy. I have wonderful friends and family, a job I love and fantastic colleagues. I would want that the world lived in peace, and worked together more to look after those with needs, climate and the natural world and the rights of minorities.
- What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?
Some internet connection - so I could carry on learning. A life without knowledge is not a life for me. Something that produces music because I love music. A useful multifunctional tool… something to make sure I could survive! I want to survive.
- How would you like to be remembered?
As a good doctor. I’d like to think my patients will miss me when I’m gone!