Doctors Who Put The Patient First

by Academy of Clinical Excellence on January 5, 2011

My colleague, Dr. Colleen Christmas, sent me this letter that she sent to another physician. She wanted to share what happened and her gratitude to the doctors who had made it possible. Too often these stories go untold, enjoy:


Dear Dr. Kang,

I am a geriatrician here at Hopkins for the past 14 years, and never have I been more proud of the collaborative and innovative spirit here as I was yesterday, thanks to Drs. Hinds and Wang.

I care for a patient who is bed-bound with a very painful squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) on his ear. We tried using narcotics to keep him comfortable but he had a lot of toxicity with that, so I tried getting him in to see a dermatologist in hopes he could have some palliative treatment. Unfortunately, in trying to get him in for a derm appointment his daughter dropped him trying to get him out of bed and he broke his fibula. This resulted in an overnight stay in the hospital and a quick biopsy of the lesion demonstrating the SCC pathology. The derm team then advised he would need to come in for a plastic surgery appointment despite my insistence that it was too dangerous to try to take him out of the home again and we were really looking for palliation. Thank heavens I was then introduced to Ginette Hinds who was willing to think way outside of the box with me. She and Tim Wang made a house-call with me last night and resected the lesion at the bedside, which he tolerated very well, and the family (and I) was incredibly grateful.

Once, about a decade ago, I cajoled an orthopedics resident to come make a home visit with me, but I am quite certain what happened last night has never happened here before, and probably nowhere else either.

Tim and Ginette, I will be waiting to return the favor somehow.

Happy holidays,


Colleen Christmas, MD

Program Director, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Division of Geriatric Medicine

Division of General Internal Medicine

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