Health Care Insiders
(featured in the MetroWest Daily News)
Elizabeth K. Ascher, M.D.
Cardiologist at HeartCenter of MetroWest
Town Where You Live:Cambridge, MA
Family: MichaelW. Yogman, M.D. (husband-pediatrician) Children:Madeline Yogman and Alexandra Yogman (daughters age 24 and 26)
Pets:Winston and Clementine (dachshunds), Maisy Brown (chocolate lab)
Interests and Hobbies:reading, skiing, exercise, cooking, travel
What do you most likeabout your work:
I have always considered it a privilege to be a physician,because of the relationships I can develop with patients, both during acuteillness and over the course of chronic disease. These connections are sointeresting, and are deeply satisfying to me as a person. I cherish the emotional closeness I am ableto develop with people who come to me for medical care, and I value and respectthe trust they place in me. While I enjoy the challenges of “figuring out” amedical problem, from an intellectual standpoint, even more, I enjoy the chanceto become an advocate and agent for people who are needful of support.
What do you like theleast:
I least like the need topractice medicine defensively, in order to avoid the possibility of beingsued. Most physicians try their hardestto do the right thing. The possibility that something might go wrong, orsomeone might not do well, is always very real and very frightening, but cannotalways be prevented, even by the best trained and most careful physicians. If the fear of being sued causes physiciansto hesitate taking on challenges, or caring for very sick patients, that is atragedy, in my mind.
What are two memoriesfrom your career that stick with you the most:
It almost goes withoutsaying that one of my most vivid memories is that of my graduation from medicalschool, when I was handed my M.D. degree and a copy of the HippocraticOath. The feelings of empowerment, pridein accomplishment, and also the awareness of having to assume immense responsibilities forthe lives of others, were profoundly affecting, and are frequently recalled tomy mind.Other memories I have involve the recollection of particularpatients, whose struggles with illness were inspiring to me in some way---intheir courage, grace, or angry determination to overcome odds. Those patients serve as reminders thatpatients’ attitudes toward their own illness are often as important in theirrecovery as are my diagnostic skills and therapeutic knowledge.
What are three piecesof advice you have for living a healthy life:
1)Do not take your health as a given, or take itfor granted.
2)Always be aware when your body does not behavenormally, and do not deny or explain away symptoms in order to avoid thediagnosis of illness.
3)As muchas possible, try to maintain moderation with regard to your behaviors aroundeating, drinking (alcohol), and exercising
What are three pieces of advice for someoneconsidering a career in medicine:
Being a physician is a career which isnot for everyone. It requires a longperiod of training, which is arduous and constraining. The rewards, however, make that investmentworthwhile. As a physician, you willalways be able to find work, and that work will be meaningful, valuable tosociety, and financially viable. As acareer, medicine requires lifetime studying and learning, to maintain one’sskills and to keep up with new developments. If you are considering a career inmedicine, you should be a person who can work with others, can listen well (toboth patients and to colleagues with more experience), and can defergratification.
Deena Ebright, M.D.
Town where you live: Wayland
Family (name of spouse/kids/pets): Husband,Michael Ebright, M.D., Thoracic Surgeon at Boston Medical Center. Sons, Ryan, 9 and Brody, 4.Pet: Fish (LukeSkywalker).
Interests and hobbies:Cooking, Exercise, Reading, Date Night with myhusband.
What do you most like about your work; what do youlike least?I enjoy the privilege ofgetting to know patients and their families, and helping to make a differencein their lives. I also enjoy teachingthe medical residents at MWMC, and watching them mature into independentpracticing physicians. Dislike: Paperwork and the bureaucracy of health care.
What are two memories from your career that stickwith you the most?I will always remember theappreciation I have felt from patients over the years. While losing a patient is difficult,supporting a family through the process can be very rewarding.
What are three pieces of advice you have for living ahealthy life?Healthy diet, regularexercise, and getting a full night’s sleep.
What are three pieces of advice you have for someoneconsidering a career in this field of work?The path to becoming aphysician is a long one. Follow your heart. Organization is key. Treat every patient like you would want yourfamily member to be treated.