Dr Roux Martinez is a woman of many skills and has worked incredibly hard to become the doctor that she’s always wanted to be. However, being a doctor to her patients is not her only job. She is also a mother to her children, a wife to her husband as well as a supporter and encourager to the mothers, doctors and nurses that she works with and the broader community.
Roux has always wanted to be in medicine. Her inspiration comes from her grandfather, who was a qualified doctor. He retired on a small farm in the Free State and together they would spend their time examining the farm animals, learning about their anatomies. Growing up, Roux was a very busy teenager. When she wasn’t learning from her grandfather, she was working in the Welkom trauma unit, mopping up blood from the floors on busy Saturday nights. Despite wanting her to be a teacher, it was Roux’s mother who arranged these odd jobs, supporting her dream of becoming a doctor.
It was no surprise then when Roux completed her Bachelors of Medical Science degree in Bloemfontein and then went on to do her honours degree in Anatomy at the University of Cape Town (UCT). For an honours project, she had to dig up 552 graves in the old Wynberg cemetery, which placed her in third year medical school at UCT. Dr Roux spent many late nights studying but her desire to help other people pushed her to pursue her dream.
Roux started working at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in 2003 as a surgical registrar. With two beautiful children of her own, Peter and Isabella, she worked part-time for a while after, yet her busy schedule never relented. She is now a medical officer for the Hospital’s Burns Unit – the only specialised paediatric burns unit in Africa – which treats more than 3500 children with serious burns every year. It is her supportive husband whom she thanks for being able to have both a fulfilling family life and career.
Dr Roux’s ability to juggle so much is admirable. She never rushes through an interaction with a patient or parent nor gives you anything but her undivided attention when asked for it. This allows her to be a pillar of support for every single person that she engages with including the other women in her life such as the nurses and mothers that she works with every single day. Her utter commitment and devotion to her work sees her giving her absolute best every single day. Ask her about the Burns Unit at the Hospital, and she will call it her second home. Ask her what she loves most about being a doctor and she will answer without hesitation: “the patients”.
Roux says, “Even if I lived for a thousand years, I would never get tired of the sight of a sick child who – one morning – has a sparkle in their eyes and starts becoming a child once again, recovering from an injury or trauma.”