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A Little Something on the Benefits of Altruism

Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 10/03/18 18:00


‘Sometimes what goes around does actually come around’.

Some years ago, I wrote a blog about the people who influence me the most in dentistry and one of those people is Phil Hollows.

Just for completeness sake Phil is a maxillofacial surgeon (soon to retire) at Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham but without a shadow of a doubt one of the best surgeons I have ever seen and one of the most empathic and honest clinicians I have ever had the privilege to come across.

It’s not over stating the fact when I say that I would not be anything like the surgeon that I am today without Phil Hollows (and even though I may be rubbish I would be a lot worse if it wasn’t for him).

Much of what I have in surgery I owe to Phil and what he taught me in those early years.

Phil didn’t do that because he thought he would be re paid in any way, he did it because of who he is. Instinctively Phil understood ‘paying things forward’ and he also understood protection of the profession and how inspiring young people in the profession helps to protect it for patients for decades to come.

So, fast forward to February 2018 (over 20 years after I started working with Phil) and I present a lecture to 200 dental students in Glasgow on ethics.

10 days after that lecture I receive an email from someone in Glasgow who turns out is the nephew of Phillip Hollows who was at that lecture and studying dentistry! 

‘A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor to show his quality.’

I have never had the opportunity to re pay Phil Hollows for what he has given me but perhaps this was fate, karma or whatever you want to call it, putting in my path a chance, not only to say thank you to Phil, but also to start paying forwards in an extraordinary way myself.

Who knows, maybe my son or nephew will come across this young man when he has gone to places that the rest of us can only ever imagine, maybe they won’t. I will grasp this opportunity to try to inspire someone into a career, a wonderful career in healthcare which will be as rewarding as it is challenging. I will do that without any future agenda or thought of payback while understanding that if I do I probably will be paid back in the end.


Blog post number: 1577

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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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