This week’s Making the Rounds features Reshma Ramlal, MD, FACP, who is part of the Markey Cancer Center hematology and blood marrow transplantation team. Dr. Ramlal sees patients with blood cancers such as acute leukemia or lymphoma. We caught up with Dr. Ramlal to learn more about her own journey and the special, multidisciplinary care at Markey.
When did you know what you wanted to specialize in?
It was not until I started practicing as a resident that I became interested in hematology and oncology. You would see that patients become deflated. They give up when they hear the word cancer. And after the oncologist and hematologist come and talk to these patients, you can see a hope ignite in them that was gone from the minute they heard the word cancer. And I realized that this was something I wanted to do.
What is special about the patient care at Markey Cancer Center?
At Markey we are privileged to have multidisciplinary teams. So we not only deal with the medical aspect of a patient's cancer diagnosis, but also the psychosocial impact. So we do have social workers who see most of our new patients, particularly those with high distress. Dietary needs are very important in patients with cancer and those undergoing chemotherapy. And we have excellent nutritionists, dietitians that are all part of the team. The nurses are integral in helping patients navigate the system. “Where is their next appointment? When do they get chemo?”
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I think one of the things that I find most rewarding in my job is when I see a patient five months out from their diagnosis. Sometimes they are unrecognizable to me. They've gained weight, they've gained their hair back. And to remember how that patient came in sick, weak, virtually almost on death's door, and to see that transition for this person who is able to carry on their lives, talking about going trips, the next steps in their life. That's truly rewarding.
Watch our full interview with Dr. Ramlal.