You are a pediatric hospitalist. What do you do?
A pediatric hospitalist is a pediatrician who spends all or most of his/her time working with sick kids in the hospital. I do not have an outpatient clinic, and I don’t see patients for well visits and shots, milestones and things like that. I just see them when they are very sick and they need to be in the hospital.
How did you become interested in medicine?
I am from a family with five siblings and we are all physicians. Also, three of my siblings married physicians. The whole family talks about medicine; that’s our life. My older brother, who is nine years older than me, was the first physician and everyone else became physicians. I found it extremely interesting studying medicine and looking at his anatomy books and microbiology. I loved it since I was in seventh grade. There was nothing else I could think about other than medicine.
What do you like about Sanford Children’s and the Sanford Children’s Hospital?
It’s an amazing place! Everything is child-oriented from nurses, nurse aides, staff, the rooms and the instruments. Although Sioux Falls is not that big of a city, a huge team of pediatricians — cardiologists, gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, and now hospitalists — work here, so you are surrounded with a very experienced group of pediatricians and subspecialists. Sanford is extremely supportive of pediatrics. In other cities, for example where I came from in Detroit, hospitals do not give pediatric departments the support that Sanford does. Sanford is extremely enthusiastic about children.
Your love of children and medicine came together with your second daughter’s birth.
I have two daughters, Fatima, 3, and Salam, 1, is the South Dakota girl. We had 18 hours of labor with my first daughter. With our second child, we barely made it to the van and into Trauma 5 before we delivered Salam in the emergency room.
When family time is a little less crazy than that, what do you like to do?
Currently, my main hobby is tasting and critiquing cooking and food. It’s a hobby I share with my wife. She cooks and I taste and give feedback. Back home in the Middle East we care a lot about food, and I would say that a regular lunch or dinner might take at least four hours cooking. We very rarely do fast food or things which are easy to be prepared. My wife and I like the challenge and the learning.