Dr. Kristaps Keggi, MD, Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation for Yale School of Medicine, visited Holy Cross High School and addressed students from the science and psychology classes.
Born in Latvia, Dr. Keggi arrived in the United States at age fifteen and entered Yale University less than two years later. He had two years of General Surgical training in New York and two years in the Army as an Orthopaedic Surgeon (one of these two years in a Mobile Surgical Hospital in Vietnam). He has been an Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon at both St. Mary's Hospital (1969-1989) and Waterbury Hospital (1969-2018). Dr. Keggi has been associated with Yale University as a student, resident, clinical and full time faculty member. The latter part of his career has been devoted to hip replacement surgery, a field in which he is considered to be the pioneer of the anterior, tissue sparing approach.
During his presentation, Dr. Keggi shared his early experiences of fleeing from Germany during World War II, his many years of medical training and his advice to those pursuing a medical career.
"In order to be a physician, you really need to have a burning desire for taking care of people," said Dr. Keggi to the students. "You need to be happy doing it."
Many of our students were profoundly affected by Dr. Keggi's story including Jenny Lin '19. She said, "For me, Dr. Keggi conveys that our worse adversities can be our greatest blessings because possibilities are endless, even the ones that are disguised as impossible."
"It amazed me was that he went to Yale on a full scholarship," said Lauren Raad '19. "The level of intellect that one must possess to simply get accepted into the University is off the charts, but to receive a full scholarship at such a prestigious school is unbelievable. As he discussed how hard he studied and worked, it inspired me to work harder in school."
"I have always known about Dr. Keggi because I am a physical therapist in the (Waterbury) area," said science teacher, Kathryn Harnish. "I've always appreciated him and looked up to him. I also have his grandson, Alex Ford '19 in my class."
Science Department Chair Erik Lanese immediately saw the benefit and privilege of Dr. Keggi's visit. He commented, "I am so appreciative that Dr. Kristaps Keggi, a medical legend and true innovator in science/technology, shared his lifetime of experiences to inspire and motivate our students to look deep within themselves and explore what possibilities are in their futures."
Dr. Keggi's visit coincided nicely with Mrs. Harnish's Anatomy & Physiology lesson plans. Her students had just finished studying the joints, the muscles and the bones. It was a great opportunity, especially for the seniors since they are currently making choices about where they will go to college. Many of them are taking Anatomy because they want a career in medicine.
"Overall, I thought Dr. Keggi made some great points about the process it takes to pursue your desired career," said Kayla Beauvais '19. "I found his story very inspiring especially since I will be attending college soon, and will experience lots of hard work."
"I was extremely intrigued and was satisfied with the presentation," said Nate Donofrio '19. "Not only was it an interesting story, but Dr. Keggi gave insight to the medical world and the vast variety of the different opportunities life throws at you. What I learned from Dr. Keggi is that you should take opportunities as they come to you because you never know what it will lead you to."
"I tell my kids all the time that you are going to recreate yourself four or five times over," said Mrs. Harnish. "It's your experiences that will define who you are. Those experiences never stop."