Tabinda Rashid-Fadel – Cardiac Physiology
Tabinda Rashid-Fadel was thinking about a career in a hospital lab when her father died very suddenly from a heart attack at a young age. It was a traumatic experience for her family the need for heart disease prevention into sharp focus. It prompted her to focus on cardiac work where the combination of her science and her emotional involvement has been a powerful one, delivering benefits to many hundreds of families in the Bristol area.
Cardiac physiology involves assessing and measuring heart function with a range of procedures, as well as diagnosis and involvement in treatments such as defibrillator and pacemaker implants. Whilst she sees some patients as emergencies at the Bristol Heart Institute, requiring rapid diagnosis and treatment, others, like children fitted with pacemakers are seen regularly over many years. Both involve developing a close personal rapport with people who may be frightened and in pain. “I always think how would my mum like to be treated. My best days are always when I can help make patients better” says Tabinda.
In the past she was the first physiologist to deliver arrhythmia clinics and to introduce ‘one stop clinics’ for heart patients which made life much easier for patients and also developed the skills of her team of physiologists. She has become very involved in management because she sees how important this is as a route to effect change for patients’ services.
Tabinda’s own background is strongly multi-cultural – Turkish, Syrian and Pakistan. She is passionate about equity of access, especially given the high incidence of heart disease in some ethnic groups. She has used her science to develop community work with a team of volunteers and they recently delivered a health awareness day for 456 people, of whom 132 had heart consultations. This work showed the barriers to access – for instance, 27% of women would delay seeking help for chest pain if no male family member could accompany them. If she manages to change services for them as she hopes, it will be a lasting personal acheivement as well as meaning better health for this neglected group.
Profile courtesy of Chief Scientific Officer, Department of Health – Professor Sue Hill