TONY BEST: Bajan doc a rising star
As a member of a new generation of physicians, Brandon Browne attracts and holds the attention of people from across Texas’ socio-economic landscape.
Why? He has an affable personality and his interests are varied.
As an attending physician in the emergency department at the Scott and White Health Care Centre in Austin, Browne is a firm believer in the delivery of effective and sophisticated care, regardless of the ability to pay.
“On any given day I see patients who are black, white, Hispanic, rich or poor, and they may be suffering from a common cold, chest pains, a heart attack, injury from accidents, a stroke or acts of violence,” said 34-year-old Browne.
When it comes to playing hard, Browne channels his energies into his family and working the land he owns with wife in the country.
It is a 40-minute drive from the bright lights of downtown Austin.
It’s there the doctor, who was listed by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the state’s rising medical stars, engages in gardening, raising chickens and bees and growing fruits and vegetables, all the while helping to fashion the lives of his four children.
“I like to travel, go hiking and being on the outdoors. That’s how I enjoy the little things of life,” he said.
But many of his most challenging and satisfying moments come when he is saving lives and treating patients who are rushed to the emergency department for life-saving treatment.
“You see it every day, patients in urgent need of care and you have to do the best you can,” said the physician who was born in Texas but took his first baby steps in Barbados while on a trip with his parents, Dr Louis Browne, a retired Texas Southern University communications professor and his wife, Laurel.
“I deal with life and death every day. Recently, we had three patients whose lives couldn’t be saved. Then a week or two passed and we didn’t have any. That makes it so challenging.”
But then, that’s what he was trained to do as a student at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston where he received his MD degree and at Scott & White Memorial Hospital where he did his residency.
“We were trained to handle the pressure and it’s what we live for,” he said. “I try to keep it simple and treat people with dignity and respect, as if they were my own family.”
So, when he enters a room he tries to connect with the patient.
“I ask where they are from or what they do. In the ER it is challenging because unlike many other doctors who see patients regularly and develop a relationship, that’s not the case in the emergency room. Usually, you are seeing the patient for the first time and you have little time to develop a rapport and build trust. I believe when you are honest with people about their health, treat them with respect and provide the best possible care, they sense it and they feed off of it.”
Browne acknowledges that he was raised in a typical Barbadian home in Texas. “Guidance from my parents, an emphasis on learning and a mother and father who showed their love but were pretty strict,” he said.
“They believe in discipline and imposed it and I am glad they did that. We are raising our own children the same way.”
His father, Barbados’ honorary consul in Texas, described him as the “complete person”.
He regards him as a dedicated family man and an excellent professional in whatever he does.
Tony Best is the Nation’s North American correspondent.