Your First Visit

From Children's Cancer Hospital
Date: Fall 2007
Duration: 01:59

Dr. Patrick Zweidler-McKay:
The Children's Cancer Hospital at M. D  Anderson really believes in the philosophy that we're not taking care of the disease, a specific bad cancer cell, but we're taking care of a child. We're taking care of a family.

For many families, the process of treating and fighting cancer begins when you first meet your child's pediatric oncologist and an entire staff of specialists at the Children's Cancer Hospital.

Dr. Patrick Zweidler-McKay:
We use a team centered approach, where we have physicians, we have nurses, we have social workers, we have Child Life Specialists. I don't wear a white coat. White coats represent authority and can often scare children and even adults. So I don't think the white coat is necessary.

Another thing is that our stethoscopes and our ophthalmoscopes and otoscopes where we look into their eyes and ears, can be very intimidating when they come into our office. So, often the first thing I'll do is to give my stethoscope to the child to let them play with it and explore it. To see that it’s harmless. To see that it's not going to do anything to them. The other thing is, of course, the title doctor, is a little imposing. My name happens to be Patrick Zweidler-McKay. And Zweidler-McKay is a long hyphenated name that can be difficult for children to pronounce and people to remember. And so as soon as I meet people I say, you're perfectly welcome to call me Patrick, or Dr. Patrick if that makes you feel more comfortable. The reason why I take care of children with cancer is because they're facing the worse thing imaginable. And at the same time, they maintain their spirit, their love of life and their motivation to go on. And that brings it home for me. I want to help them and support them through their fight.