November 23, 2009
A few months ago, a patient in her early third trimester came for a routine prenatal visit. Her vital signs were good, the baby’s heart rate was normal and as I handed her an appointment slip, I asked whether she felt her baby move during the past two hours. She said no, she had not felt the baby move all day. Despite hearing the baby’s heartbeat, my antennas immediately went up and I referred her to the labor room to have further diagnostic tests.
A few weeks later, my assistant said, “Dr. Galloway, you’ve done it again.” I asked what was she talking about and she explained that our patient was seen in a follow-up clinic for the removal of her staples. The same day I sent her to the hospital, she had an emergency C-Section because her tests were extremely abnormal. Her baby was in trouble. When the on-call obstetrician delivered the baby, he noted an umbilical cord wrapped around its neck five times and once around its body. However, the baby did well and was eventually sent home in stable condition.
My most gratifying moment occurred when I saw the baby for the first time. “She’s my miracle, Dr. Galloway” said the patient, and of course, I agreed. “She was channeling me the night before I came to see you.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “The night before I had her, I dreamt that she had died but because you sent me to the hospital, she’s alive. She’s my miracle.” Tears swelled in my eyes as I struggled to maintain my composure. The miracle of life never ceases to amaze me.
May 1, 2009
On rare occasion an anomaly emerges from within my profession that makes me cringe with shame. Such is the case of Philip Markoff, a former medical student who attended my alma mater.
Craigslist is not part of my vocabulary nor on my immediate agenda. However, when I discovered that Markoff was a BU med student, I almost passed out in shock. My first concern was that his association would not tarnish the school’s reputation. My fellow alumni have a unique reputation of becoming “the first” with their achievements.
Dr. Louis Sullivan was BU’s first Secretary of Health; Dr. Charles Eastman was the first Native American physician from the Lakota tribe at Wounded Knee; and BU was the first to train female physicians at a time when it was not politically correct. The fact that Markoff allegedly meandered all over Boston and Rhode Island preying on unsuspecting women is an outrage of the highest order.
Julissa Brisman is a martyr and may she rest in eternal peace. Had her horrendous murder not come to light, Markoff might have slipped under the radar screen with a medical degree empowering him to create greater havoc. An alleged healer by day. A predator by night. The ultimate betrayal to unsuspecting patients.
No one can predict the final outcome of Markoff’s fate. He will certainly “lawyer up” with the best possible defense team that money can buy. Convicting a member of the upper echelon can be extremely tricky business. However, here’s one comforting thought that gives me profound relief: they will never call him “doctor” nor will he grace the sacred halls of Boston University again.