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BY Curtis Pettaway, M.D.

For anything you want to do, there’s got to be some inspiration. For me, it was the pain I felt when my mother died that prompted my career in medicine. I was only 10 at the time, and she died fairly young of something I felt she shouldn’t have — a ruptured appendix, most likely.

I made the decision to go into medicine based on that experience, because I wanted to prevent and relieve suffering when I grew up. But I also wanted...

Curtis Pettaway, M.D., performs urologic cancer surgery in the operating room while wearing a face mask and a headlamp.