Dhanesh Budhram is the Palmetto High School Silver Knight nominee in the Vocations category. Budhram works hard at school and at helping others. His goal is to become a doctor.
That desire was developed because the doctors at Miami Children’s Hospital saved his life when he was an infant. Budhram was born at only one pound six ounces at South Miami Hospital. He was quickly transferred to Miami Children’s, where he spent the next four months.
As a thank you, Budhram volunteers at Miami Children’s Hospital. He started in 2011 and has worked in a variety of departments, starting in the after-hours department. That’s the department that helps frantic parents who have questions after their pediatrician’s office closes.
“What I do, I will triage the patient’s charts as they come to the hospital,” he says. “They fax a copy of the chart to the office. I would triage the patient as a rush or a regular. A rush would be a major case such as wheezing or trouble breathing. Or it could be regular such as a low fever or a cold, something.”
Budhram went from chart triage to hospitality.
“The volunteers go to different wings of the hospital and provide the parents with snacks,” he says. “Some parents don’t get a chance to eat because they are so concerned about their child.”
Then he was transferred to the Child Life Department where he helped organize supplies, clean dirty toys and play with the kids who were in the emergency room.
“I would engage them in some activity,” he says. “I would also go room to room and I’d offer them games and give them something to do.”
After almost a year in that area, he switched to the Child Life Surgery department.
“I’d play with patients who were recovering from surgery,” he says“I’d cheer them up and try to give them something to do.”
Budhram says he enjoys volunteering, especially in the child life area.
“It’s so much fun and it’s so gratifying to be with children,” he says.
He expanded his volunteer efforts to include a coloring book drive.
“I collected over 600 coloring books and thousands of crayons,” he says. “I donated some to Miami Children’s Child Life department and the Pediatric Nursing Home Patches in Homestead.”
He has already completed a second coloring book drive, but this time the recipients were Baptist Hospital and Miami Children’s.
Budhram is president of Palmetto’s Health Occupation Students of America club. Through the club they have health related competitions. The members go to different hospitals and participate in events such as nurse for a day and emergency drills.
Budhram is also a member of the Health Information Project. As a member he’s trained as a peer health educator and goes to classes to teach freshman about health topics, including mental health, reproductive health, drugs and alcohol, sex and nutrition.
“When I grow up, I want to be a pediatric surgeon,” he says. “I want to be a doctor who cares about his patients and has empathy for them. I don’t want to see my patients like a machine.”
To achieve his goal, he has applied to Washington University in St. Louis, the University of North Carolina and Duke.
Budhram is a devoted Hindu. He volunteers at his temple playing the dholak and tabla (Indian drums) and assisting the clergy. He is in the temple youth group and helps teach kids about their culture and heritage.
“We learn about the Hindu language and we learn about yoga,” he says.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld