When considering his career choice, Dr.John Naranja, an orthopaedic surgeon and personal injury attorney, had a strong influence in terms of going into medicine. Both of his parents were physicians. What he didn’t know, is that he would years later also become an attorney.
Here are some highlights from an entertaining and informative interview with Jonjy Ananth. Click here to listen to the interview.
Inspiration came to Dr. Naranja from his father, who was born and raised in the Philippines, where he went to medical school. He immigrated and completed his residency in the United Sates. He started with nothing. With all his hard work he always put his family first and succeeded to live the American dream. At one time both father and son were stationed at same Air Force in base.
Earning his medical degree from Georgetown University, Dr. Naranja, Jr. completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He then served as an orthopaedic surgeon and officer in the United States Air Force for a four-year tour, before starting his own practice in Northern Maine.
One lesson he learned was the value of ongoing education. After twelve years as a surgeon, he decided to expand his education, completed his law degree at Northeastern University, and joined Diller Law, P.C. in Boston Massachusetts as a personal injury attorney.
Dr. Naranja states that practicing medicine and the law are different, but relatively similar careers. Both are about “how we want to help people through their problems,” require ongoing learning. One difference is in the concentration of content.
To maintain proficiency requires more ongoing study since in the law, and more specifically in personal injury law, changes happen much faster than in medicine. “We have to continue to maintain our proficiency and understanding of the laws as they continue to change. In medicine things continue to change especially with technology, but the essence of the medicine doesn’t change, I think, as fast as the law does.”
How hard is law school is compared to medical school? Really the difference is the total duration of education prior to practice. To become a physician requires not only medical school which is four years, but also whichever residency you are going to there’s a number of years going into that. It is five years for an orthopaedic surgeon residency. It’s a larger time commitment but that gives you that transition before starting your own practice. With a law degree, you can start practice after three years once you pass the bar exam.
In the medical profession strange cases do indeed occur in real hospitals, not just on TV. Medical traumas, wood impaling a person so it is sticking through them, gunshot wounds, traumatic amputations and even using leeches to help with blood flow when limbs are transplanted. Though car accident injuries have declined there are still Injuries even when seat belts are worn and air bags reduce external injuries, there are a lot of post traumatic head injuries, concussions, and internal injuries that need to be diagnosed and treated.
Comparing a medical career vs. a career in the law, both are exciting. In surgery you have the excitement in the operating room performing surgery and putting a person back together. In a courtroom you are arguing and analyzing a case, putting the arguments together so they make a lot of sense for the judge and jury. Evidence in a case is like the bones in a person, they have to be properly linked. The courtroom is almost like theatre. The excitement comes from connecting the arguments so they make a lot of sense for the judge and jury, and building a relationship with them so they know where you are going.
Dr. Naranja’s family includes ten children and one grandchild. He advises young people to keep expanding, learn more and take advantage of technology opportunities. Faith, family and friends help you keep strong. We are here for a purpose it’s bigger than just ourselves.