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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Thursday's Connector: Sanjay Gupta

February 10th, 2010
02:34 PM ET

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the chief medical correspondent for CNN and is also a practicing neurosurgeon who regularly takes part in life saving surgeries.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/10/sanjay.blog.jpg caption ="CNN's Sanjay Gupta."]

Before joining CNN, Gupta served at the University of Tennessee's Semmes-Murphy clinic and the University of Michigan Medical Center.

In 1997, he was selected as a White House Fellow, serving as a special advisor to First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Gupta joined CNN in the summer of 2001 and has reported in important events including the anthrax attacks in the U.S. and the invasion of Iraq.

Over the past four weeks, Gupta has been in Haiti covering the devastation caused by an earthquake that claimed more than 200,000 lives.

Gupta has been reporting from the field as a journalist as well as acting as a doctor in certain situations which has made him the only practicing doctor and journalist in the country.

This has raised serious questions over whether it's possible for him to properly do both.

Many critics believe that journalists should not get involved in the story and should only report what is taking place.

In the case of Gupta, he has actively been part of the story - performing a number of life-saving surgeries to injured Haitians as well as heading up an emergency medical clinic for victims - all while being filmed for the news.

We want to know what you think? What boundaries should journalists follow? Should Gupta be made part of the story? Can he do both professions justice?

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. skippy

    The world should be grateful for reports by this "Dedicated individual" he adds expert commentary to his compassionate reports!

    Nay sayers are jealous of the in depth reports given and the insights he offers us bystanders!

    February 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  2. Keira

    YES! I think he can definitely do both. It's called multi-tasking. We all do it on a daily basis. It's not like he's interviewing the head of the UN while messing w/ someone's brain! More power to Dr. Gupta. He's a doctor first, then a journalist. As far as I'm concerned, he's doing a hell of a job.

    My question for him would be: how do you compartamentalize all of the emotions that are sure to come up when covering a disaster like Haiti? How do you decompress - whether after a story or surgery?

    February 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  3. Raoul Bermejo III

    You have covered stories in very difficult and impoverished places in the world. You must have seen how many have no access to even the most basic health care. How do you feel about the fact that we have made so much advances in medicine and yet so many people die from diseases like diarrhea and malnutrition?

    February 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  4. Melissa

    Dr. Gupta has proven that indeed he can perform both duties without breaking the integrity of either profession. As he stated on CNN- he is a doctor first, and I would prefer to see him saving a little child's (or any one else) life than reporting on their tragic death.

    His reports have reminded us the importance of having a sense of humanity and compassion, and at the same time giving us a look into the reality the people of Haiti are facing after the devastation.

    February 10, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  5. Dr. Beatrice Denis

    Dear Dr. Gupta,

    You are an inspiration to any young doctor. Thank you, for your coverage of Haiti. I am a young Haitian Doctor training in England. I really want to go home but there is no training programme in Haiti. i am an intern and not sure how much I can help and am concerned for my training.

    My question to you would be how you think young haitian doctors could continue their medical training in Haiti. What do you think we could do? In other countries trainee doctors do the bulk of the grunt work under supervision, one day they teach others. How can we go back?
    You are an inspiration to so many young doctors.

    Thank you,
    Beatrice Denis

    February 10, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  6. Eva

    Mostly honored Dr. Gupta,

    I am Eva, 30 from Armenia. Though I am a simple musician and work as an English-teacher, I always watch your programme Vital Signs on TV, we have CNN broadcoast here and I am very thankful for that, too!

    Knowing that you are going to be on the coming Connector of the Day I do hope that my thankfullness will reach to you. And I also want to say THANK YOU again for your great mission work in Hailti, beleive me, we people on the other side would see how dedicated and tenderhearted you are to your profession! Mr. Gupta, I wish all the doctors were like you in my country!

    God bless you,

    Eva Tatosyan

    February 11, 2010 at 7:45 am | Reply
  7. Ruan

    Dr. Gupta, I greatly admired your work in Haiti, especially the night you and your crew decided to stay behind in that medical tent and how hard you tried to preserve your journalist's objectivity when talking about the medical folks you were made to abandon their patients.

    My question is: A couple of days after the earthquake, when you and the other CNN crews got to Haiti so quickly, why did it take so long for the medical professionals to get there and set up? At the least, a few emergency teams with basic medical supplies could have surely lent a hand?

    February 11, 2010 at 9:50 am | Reply
  8. Ruan

    Another question, do you know what happened to that tiny baby you treated with the head wound, in the first couple of days after the earthquake? Did she get the required medical supplies and did she make it?

    February 11, 2010 at 9:52 am | Reply
  9. Tátú

    In my opinion a news reporter should try to stay out of the story, unless the circumstances demand other.

    As far as I saw and followed Dr.Guptas actions as "part of the story", I tend to agree, that the decision to leave the shielded position of a reporter was the right one. – But from my view as a European, there was too much "pleasure for drama" and Dr.Gupta did a step too far into the roll of an actor…

    February 11, 2010 at 10:43 am | Reply
  10. jean

    does being such a huge medical personality ever impact the reaction that your patients have towards you?
    does it make them trust you more or less?

    February 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  11. alexis Chesnut

    Yes, if he can save lives. He is human first, a doctor second and than a reporter. Let's all imagine it was us or or our family in need of help, how would we answer the question?

    February 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  12. Peter

    Has this story in Haiti moved you mroe than anything you've done before – in television or surgery?

    February 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  13. Steffi

    Your story could inspire writers to develop a novel or a screen script because the conflicts and problems are waiting to happen. What kind of idea should this story communicate?

    February 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  14. Ravi Sharma

    Dr Gupta..

    Thank you so much for your efforts in reporting and helping people in need .. You are certainly an inspirations for doctors across the globe..

    Reporting is also like diagnosing an event and providing accurate picture which may lead to betterment of situations by involvement and efforts of readers. So well done, its like redefining your doctorate practice .. in this case it the reader who effect situation..

    I have seen many time, wherein journalist are in worst places and often helpless due to lack of knowledge on medical aid.. I seriously would like to see Journalists been trained to provide medical first aid before they land up in place like Haiti...

    Imagine you recording someone die and you couldn't help the person die in anyway rather filming the tragic event..

    Once again.. Well Done Dr. Gupta..

    February 11, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  15. Chris

    Dr Gupta,i really appreciate ur indefatigable effort in discharging ur responsibility and ur are a source of inspiration to any young doctor.Once again i really appreciate.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  16. George Amadi

    Gupta must be relevant to CNN in their quest for excellence. In my book, HOW TO BE A GOOD JOURNALIST, saying it truthfully and giving all concerned a fair hearing, to my mind, remain key toward turning in a balanced copy. It should not matter who the reporter is.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  17. Reginald Beninche

    "Whenever I go into a house, I will go to help the sick." This is what doctor Gupta has promised when he swore to the hippocratic oath at the time of his graduation .This is a long term commitment and that means a doctor must do what is necessary to keep a person alive. Doctor Gupta is sacrificing his own time saving babies and women life without getting paid. This is what I call heroic act. Could you imagine how regretful would be Anderson Cooper when he'd hear from his crew that the little boy he saw bleeding in the streets of Port-au-Price was dead. Doctor Gupta must operate both professions since he is a doctor and a journalist, there's no question about it. By the way if he had to choose between them, I believe he would prefer to work as a doctor. This is not getting involved in any story here, it's getting involved in a life saving fight . And time will tell us, how doctor Gupta's endeavor changed many american life.

    February 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  18. omoarebun

    i bliev it is perfectly possible 4 an individual to embark on 2 professns simultaneously knw d gravity of advantage imposed positivly on d people of haiti.

    February 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  19. ekwueme lee orikoha

    Just imagin reporting from haiti and not letting concernd persons know detail on health situation. Sanjay Gupta makes it very outstanding for CNN. I am a commited viwer. Go on sanjay.

    February 13, 2010 at 8:04 am | Reply
  20. Louie

    Dr. Gupta,Urgent, if possible...
    Thank you so much for your efforts in helping people in need...
    Dr. Gupta, I like to discuss a subject which I know its dear to your heart and as a humanitarian if you will be able to assist a 4 years old girl from IRAQ, (a dear friend daughter) whom she is suffering from a neurological of “cerebellum region persist of cavium septum pellocdium (normal variant) Cystic lesion on occipital region, density 4 hu, giant cistern magna? Arachnoids cyst”.I have all her medical charts and MRI.
    I would appreciate if you can connect with me via email, and we can discuss the details of this child from Iraq, which I would ask you if you can help us to bring this child to the US for humanitarian purpose, and be able to treat her and safe this Iraqi 4 years old child. This is what I call heroic act, please.
    You are certainly inspirations for many across the globe...

    Louie G.

    February 23, 2010 at 3:22 am | Reply
  21. mignon andrada, m.d.

    Wow, Dr. Gupta, a man after my own heart. I once aspired to be a neurosurgeon, having loved brains even as a child. Loved eating that part of the chicken, then loved studying that as a medical student. Then turn of events did not lead me to be one, and now I'm a physician of the poor and marginalized. Man how you jumped from the million dollar job of a neurosurgeon among the plush crowd, to the "least of your brethren", the biblical poor and the needy. Then after having shoved your gloves, you take the mike and report for CNN. Well, it's very doable and efficient. Nothing wrong here. This is novel and noble.

    November 17, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Reply

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