Aug 09, 2017 11:00 AM

john sweetenham, md

Editor's note: John Sweetenham, MD moved to UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2019.

Video Transcript

If I’m honest I think a lot of people in the building probably have no idea what I do.

Ultimately, the patient care that happens in this building is primarily in the hands of the individual physicians who take care of those patients. My job is to make sure that they have the tools that they need to be able to do that to the best of their ability.

“Is that an English accent we hear?”

Oh they often say, whereabouts in Australia do you come from, or South Africa I get quite a lot but yes, I’m from England. So I was born and brought up on the east side of London so I was there for the first part of school, high school that is. I became a fan of Westham United who was sort of the local soccer team on that part of the country and you know, as I did that I learned to cope with disappointment because they never win anything.

Most of my oncology training actually I did in a city called Southampton, the University of Southampton, which is on the south coast of England. Most people would only know about Southampton because the Titanic sailed out of Southampton.

“What differences do you see between the U.S. and England?”

I always tell people I’ve always been much more struck by the similarities than the differences. I think people are the same the world over. And I think the patients we take care of are the same the world over. I occasionally miss an English pub and the atmosphere of an English pub. But we go back usually once or twice a year so I get a fix.

“If you weren’t a doctor, what might you like to be?”

You know the other thing that I would have really wanted to do was to be a musician. I used to love playing the guitar. I used to love singing and that kind of thing. I think what held me back was I had no talent, so you know it was never really going to happen although I always had a hankering for wanting to do that.

“We hear you may have enjoyed scaring some trick-or-treaters.”

So we did because—how did you hear about that?! So when I first got here it was this kind of trick-or-treat deal, and what we thought was that we had some stake in this, so in other words that we could choose to trick them. So our kids who were then in their teens had these incredibly powerful water gun things that you could squirt someone who was about three miles away if you had the thing this powerful. So we had some kids come to our door dressed as whatever and we were ready there with the… and they looked a little shocked.

talks with docs lymphoma cancer care hci proud

Cancer touches all of us.

Share Your Story