2006 Scholarship Recipient

Karen Galvan, MD, 2007

Karen Galvan, MD

Karen Galvan's Winning Essay

When I think of how I, as a surgeon, will create and maintain effective relationships with my patients, I am reminded of a number of physicians who have touched my life at difficult times. In January of 1999, shortly after my seven year old son, Timothy, was diagnosed with an inoperable brainstem tumor, it was decided that he would have a central venous catheter placed for chemotherapy. Dr. Nicolette, the pediatric surgeon, carefully explained the procedure and even took the time to draw a little diagram. She then arranged for me to follow my son into the operating room and to wait with him until he was anesthetized. Her caring manner and willingness to go out of her way to make the experience less traumatic for a sick little boy was appreciated.

I also learned from our experiences with Tim's and later my father's terminal illnesses that when physical healing is not possible, physicians my continue their commitment to the patient by dedicating the same intensity toward maximizing the patient's quality of life that they did toward effecting a cure. A little time taken to express compassion and understanding can make a great difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones as they navigate the foreign and frightening territory of serious illness, and I intend never to be so busy in my practice as a surgeon that I forget to make that human connection in a visibly caring manner.


Past Scholarship Recipients