Short White Coat is a blog written by second-year Harvard medical student Ishani Ganguli. Ishani's posts appear here, as part of White Coat Notes. E-mail Ishani at email@example.com.
Dr. Judah Folkman's passing has been deeply felt in the Harvard medical community and beyond. He will always be revered for his inestimable contributions to cancer research. We can also remember him as a genuine clinician and a gifted teacher.
I recall my excitement last spring when I discovered that our roster of lecturers included the famed scientist. And Dr. Folkman did not disappoint. His talk on congenital malformations was lucid and engrossing. He would present each bleak image of a newborn, organs spilling from an open stomach, and explain the child's condition with the calm insight of a seasoned professional. And then he would step away from the lectern and reflect on the bigger picture, sharing with us what he'd learned in his decades at the bedside.
One lesson in particular stuck with me. He told us to be constantly aware of parents' fear and suffering in the face of their child's debilitating condition. Whether or not we were religious, we would do good to remind parents that they had been chosen to teach, by example, the power of resilience.
In his 74 years, Dr. Folkman certainly set an example for the innumerable students, patients, and colleagues whose lives he touched. As we grieve his unexpected loss, we can aspire to do right by his wise words and gentle smile.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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