HEALTH MATTERS: Professor Tara – my patients won’t let it go to my head

Pictured above: Professor Tara Quasim. newly promoted.

By Lucy Ashton

An intensive care specialist from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, who has just been promoted to Professor, is reflecting on the last year and how she has taken her adopted Glasgow to her heart.

Dr Tara Quasim works for both NHSGGC and the University of Glasgow, and has just been promoted to the role of Professor of Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Perioperative Medicine.

Tara said: “If the last year has taught me anything, it’s that anyone can end up in ICU. Having spent a large part of my career working in ICU, you can usually have an idea who might survive, but COVID changed that – it’s such a strange disease and I was not able to predict who would make it. Why two people react in such different ways to the same thing is a significant challenge.

“It’s been such a confusing time – things changed from day to day. If you took a few days leave you would need to spend time ‘learning’ what had been discovered in the time you had been off. It moved that quickly.

“One real positive – if there can be one – was how the ICU community, in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland, the UK and the world managed to share learning. It was such an unknown quantity. Despite being incredibly busy, professionals took the time to share knowledge and also still participate in clinical trials to find much needed new treatments.

“I am very proud of how everyone worked; they stepped up to the mark every time.

“I have always been fascinated by intensive care medicine. It’s something that happens to so few people fortunately. That and health inequalities. You have your real age and your biological age, and they can be very different. To survive to 90 in the East End; I think you need to have the super gene.”

Tara grew up in a Pakistani family and followed in her father and sister’s footsteps by making Glasgow her home.

She said: “Dad wanted to be a lawyer, but became a doctor to please his dad. He was a psychiatrist. That meant he wanted his daughters to follow their hearts when it came to choosing a career. He had worked in Glasgow and had loved his time here, as had my sister when she studied Medicine before me.

“Both my parents are gone, but yes, I think they would be proud and I’m sure they are looking down on me. Mum probably told people I was a Professor years ago!

“I love Glasgow and I love working at Glasgow Royal. I might have this promotion, but there is no chance of getting a big head around here. Working in the East End is special and I love the people and the humour. People don’t dress things up; they tell you like it is and it’s refreshing!”

Professor Matthew Walters, Head of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing at the University of Glasgow, said: “We offer our sincerest congratulations to Professor Tara Quasim on her richly-deserved promotion. Tara will contribute a great deal of experience and knowledge to the University of Glasgow community and this Professorship is an acknowledgement of her professional expertise, professional commitment and experience in the treatment of patients in need of critical care.”

Leave a Reply