Tuesday, March 01, 2005


My medical school Nephrology rotation was under the care of Dr. Cohen. Back then, only a third year student, I was relatively intimidated by the hospital ward and dealing with patients whose kidneys didn't function was a challenge, still is. He was the head of the department. He was Argentinean by birth and had a thick Latin accent. The mix of Spanish and Hebrew gave his vocabulary a Yiddish "I love lucy" chutzpa.

At the time, he was nearly fifty years old. The years have been kind to him and his beard, now white, was a perfect fit on his experienced pudgy face. He once told us a story about how when he came out of medical school he decided to train in pediatrics but after years of being awake late at night to help yet another child in trouble, he burned out and switched directions. Then an attending, he started anew and began a Nephrology/Internal Residency from beginning to end, including internship.

When contemplating the last two weeks of caring for patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) he often pops into mind. I think he summed it up best when he said “I couldn’t stand watching kids die so long before their time and so it was a blessing coming here to take care of people who were supposed to be dead a long time ago, except someone forgot to tell them”.

Indebted to you, they continue to forget. You're an inspiration Dr. Cohen.