HumAnes of UCLA: Hai Pham, MD

Introducing Dr. Hai Pham, Liver Transplantation Anesthesiology Fellow Physician

Dr. Hai Pham lounging with a wine glass

December 1, 2021

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Saigon, Vietnam, but immigrated with my family to the United States when I was one. I spent most of my childhood in the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia) and consider myself a proud Philadelphian.

Where do you live now? Why did you pick it?
I currently live in West Hollywood (or WeHo, as the locals call it!) after spending a decade in San Francisco for school and residency. I chose to live in WeHo because of its proximity to UCLA, abundance of restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and of course my favorite gym is only a few blocks away.

How did you come to pick anesthesia?
It's actually been quite a comedy of errors that led me to the world of anesthesia. When I was a wideeyed MS1 at UCSF, I started receiving unusual emails in my inbox requesting "consults" and patient evaluations for epidural steroid injections. I, being an MS1 and not having a clue what these words meant, immediately deleted all these emails. As it turns out, there is an anesthesia attending also by the name of Hai Pham (legal name Thoha Pham, MD), who was not so happy that I had been receiving and deleting her emails. Nevertheless, she invited me to meet for coffee and shadow her in the clinic/OR. I fell in love with anesthesia and the rest is history. Nine years later, she became my medical school and residency advisor, mentor, and good friend. I still forward her emails and pages this day. Why people can still page my UCSF pager is another mystery...

Why did you pick UCLA? Why a liver fellowship? What are your specific interests within anesthesia?
I remember the very first liver transplant I participated in as a resident; my glasses and mask fogged up because my mouth was wide open for the entire case. The pace of the room was moving so quickly yet every person on the team and every aspect of the anesthetic worked perfectly in unison. It was
organized chaos, and I loved it!

I chose UCLA for fellowship because of the challenging and rare liver transplants that are done here. Our patients are incredibly sick, many of whom have been turned down by other transplant centers. I'm interested in combining cardiac and liver, and UCLA is also one of the very few centers that do combined
cardiothoracic-liver transplant procedures.

What are your interests outside of anesthesia/outside of work?
I enjoy everything California has to offer from our wonderful vineyards, wine tasting (old world-style reds really have nothing on California wines), outdoor and water activities. I'm an almost cultish follower of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes and try to go 2-3 times a week if time permits.

Where are you planning for your next vacation?
I've been meaning to take a trip to Taiwan for a couple of years now that has been postponed due to COVID, but I am looking forward to some delicious and cheap food as soon I can go!

What might people not know about you/might surprise people?
In a different life, I was a licensed manicurist in the state of Pennsylvania. Those days are over, but you'd be surprised the overlap of fine motor skills necessary to apply acrylic nails and performing ultrasound-guided central lines.