Ask a doctor why he or she pursued a career in medicine, and the likely response will include an inspiring story about a childhood injury or the painful memory of watching a loved one suffer from illness or disease and not being able to help.
The reasons run the gamut — from funny and charming to serious and heartbreaking — but they all offer compelling insights into what makes a person choose to take such a challenging path.
Dr. Roshni Rao, chief of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Breast Surgery Program, recalls growing up in India, where “we used to have brooms with very long quills. I’d pluck them out, then run around giving ‘injections’ to all of my relatives.” Dr. Richard Isaacson, a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, witnessed several of his family members succumb to Alzheimer’s disease, prompting him to devote his professional life to Alzheimer’s research, treatment, and prevention. For Dr. Ronald Lehman, director of Degenerative, Minimally Invasive and Robotic Spine Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine Hospital, a fractured elbow at age 7 sparked his interest in orthopedics.
Here are some inspiring accounts of NewYork-Presbyterian doctors on what motivated them to dedicate their careers to caring for patients, making advancements in research, and helping to create and foster a healthcare environment dedicated to providing the highest quality, most compassionate care.