I thoroughly enjoyed reading Drs. Mazziotta’s and Panosian-Dunavan’s articles in the Winter U Magazine. It brought back many fond memories of my time on the full time faculty when he was Dean. It was wonderful watching his history taking and physical exams when he was rounding with my Internal Medicine Ward team on teaching rounds. I will never forget how kind and gentle he was, treating all human beings with respect.
Dean Mellinkoff was known to stop and chat with a Janitor or Gardener on his way from the faculty parking lot, get to know them and find out what was going on with them. I will always have fond memories when, at the end of Medical Grand Rounds, he would often stop and wish me well. Whenever that would happen, I could nearly always count on having received a new patient referral by the time I got back to my office. It would always be someone he had met and befriended on his way into his office. He truly cared about of of us equally.
The world was always a better place when he was with us. So many of us at UCLA owe so much gratitude for all that he gave to us.
Frank Apgar, MD
(Res ’79, GIM/HSR Faculty ’79-'90)
I received our copy of U magazine for Winter 2019 and one article caught my attention. The title was Heartbreak and Hope. The article dealt with miscarriage of a pregnancy. After reading it I felt that I had to share my story. It warms my heart to know that Doctors and other medical personnel understand what it means to lose a child. I am talking about miscarriage late in the pregnancy, like at 5 months.
I am 71 years old, with a 45-year-old daughter and a 43-year-old son. I have never been able to talk to them about their older brother or sister. When I was of optimum childbearing age miscarriage were not spoken about. The atmosphere was more of a “you lost the baby, get over it and try again.”
My first pregnancy ended not in a miscarriage, but in a missed abortion. Everything was fine with the pregnancy until the beginning of my third trimester. I woke up one day feeling off. About 3:00 in the afternoon I took my afternoon break and in sitting and thinking realized that I had not felt the baby move at all that day. I ended my break and returned to my office to call the doctor. He wanted me to come in right away. I called my husband and explained the problem. He met me at the doctor. The doctor spent an unordain time looking for the baby’s heartbeat. He could not find it at all. Finally, he ordered an immediate sonogram and blood test. I was sent on my way with stops for each test.
The doctor put a rush on test results. I was to come back the next day. When I got to his office the next day, I was ushered into his office immediately. He looked unhappy as he said to me “I am sorry to tell you this, but the baby died and did not spontaneously abort.” My husband and I were stunned. How could this be? Then he gave me the rest of the news: he could not do a D and C until the baby started to abort on its own. Then he sent me home.
My husband and I held each other; we railed at God. We went over in our minds all our activities in the past few days trying to figure out if I did something that made the baby die. We did not understand at all. The explanation we chose to believe is that the missed abortion (and miscarriages) are Gods way of taking care of a child who would be so ill or so deformed that it would have been cruel to have the baby born.
We lost a baby at a time when we should have been painting his or her room. And all people would say is “get over it”.
That people finally understand that it is normal to grieve in this situation is nothing short of a miracle.
Class of 1969, UCLA