Stuart E. Siegel
When your specialty happens to be treating children with cancers of the blood, a good bedside manner is second only in importance to medical skill. Dr. Stuart E. Siegel is renowned for both.
That's certainly the opinion of Josh Rosenberg, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease at age 16. Rosenberg, now 20, immediately felt safe with Siegel. "A lot of doctors treated me like a pin cushion," he says. "They were socially inept. Dr. Siegel is not. One night, under Dr. Siegel's care, I started having an anxiety attack during my intravenous treatment, which was blowing out my veins. Dr. Siegel talked to me, he listened and he recognized that my fear was rational."
Rosenberg fully recovered and was cured, and his experience gave him the impetus to pursue a career in medicine. Today, Rosenberg works in Siegel's cancer research laboratory at Childrens Hospital in Hollywood; he wants to go to medical school and become a pediatric hematologist like his mentor.
Chris Nehls, 32, also remembers what it was like to be one of Siegel's patients. Nehls was 9 years old when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was given two years to live.
"Dr. Siegel put me in the plastic bubble," he recalls. When Nehls wasn't doing too well one night, the boy's mother held a vigil beside her son's bubble, where he lived for three months. Siegel stayed with Mrs. Nehls throughout the night. Last year, Siegel, 56, gave the bride away at Nehls' wedding.
Siegel, a Boston University Medical School graduate, was recruited to join the hematology/oncology division of Childrens Hospital in 1976. He is internationally known for his investigations in clinical pediatric cancer trials, particularly in the area of acute leukemia and lymphoma.
He was appointed the first director of the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.
"My goal is to conduct research in the lab and apply the results directly to the patient," Siegel says. Currently, he is researching cures for sickle cell anemia.
"He's relentless about giving the right care," says his colleague, pediatrician Robert Adler. "He was one of the first physicians to incorporate the parents and the siblings with treatment, and instruct the patient in how to cope with friends at school during treatment."
Childrens Hospital Chief of Surgery Kathryn Anderson, agrees. "Dr. Siegel built the hematology/oncology service at Childrens," she says, "and now it's one of the best in the United States."
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