For some, working with patients with complex and severe diseases would be an incredible challenge. For Jamie Dargart, MD, MS, it’s a privilege. As a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, she treats children, adolescents and young adults with blood diseases and cancers. Dr. Dargart shares her perspective below.
My Experience as a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist
“I don’t know how you do it! It must be so sad…” If I had a dollar for every time I heard this response after telling someone what I do for a living, my student loans would be paid off several times over.
I am a pediatric hematology/oncology physician at ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital. I have dedicated my professional life to caring for children with cancer, which is the No. 1 cause of death due to disease in children in the United States. And I love what I do.
I understand that most people do not like to think about children developing serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses, nor do they want to dwell on the physical, mental and emotional trauma these children and their families undergo during and after treatment.
But they are kids. I am obviously biased as a pediatrician, but kids are simply the best. They can be loud, active, brutally honest and sticky. They can give some serious stink-eye if they are not in the mood for you to examine them, or summon the security guards after “accidentally” pushing the panic button at the unit clerk’s desk. They dance in clinic, ride tricycles and play basketball in the hallways, stay up late playing video games, and occasionally convince me to try a jellybean that, unfortunately, really did taste like a stinkbug. With this in mind, we strive to get them back to “normal life” (or something that resembles that) as soon as possible – back to home, back to school and back to the activities that should define their childhoods.
I continue to be amazed that patients and families trust me to care for them moments after meeting me, often after I have delivered devastating news. This is a privilege that I do not take lightly, and I truly am honored to be a part of their journey.