Sam Reiter, MD
Kevin Denny, MD, Chair
Kaiser Permanente East Bay – Oakland and Richmond
Our clinical experiences with underserved patients at Lions and Highland are truly special. We learn, laugh, and cry with our patients, all the while having a supportive faculty to teach us about and help care for our complex patients.
Two patient stories stand out in reflection – the first is a monocular patient with uveitic glaucoma whom I cared for at Highland. He had previously been under the care of Dr. Heiden in his private uveitis practice. Over a period of months, I was able to care for this complex patient with remote assistance from Dr. Heiden, who knew this patient quite well. Ultimately, this patient required glaucoma surgery, which I performed on my birthday. I was incredibly nervous given his monocular status, but thankfully it went very smoothly due to brilliant oversight from the Highland glaucoma team. The patient was immensely grateful.
Another story that comes to mind is when I was chief resident at Lions and working with Dr. Bacharach in glaucoma clinic. There was a patient (again monocular) with tight palpebral fissures who required a bandage contact lens to be placed after her exam. All the residents tried including myself but could not get the lens to take proper position. I turned to Dr. Bacharach to ask him to lend a hand, and he said, “You’ll be an attending in no time, the buck stops with you – you can do this, just focus.” My next attempt was a success. Though this was not a vision saving procedure, I reflect on this experience often, as it was emblematic of the patient ownership, responsibility, and can-do attitude that is instilled in residents who graduate from CPMC.