PFCC Star for December: Dr. David Mitchell

Ten-year-old Talia spent almost one year under the constant watch and care of the Hematology-Oncology team at the Children’s, and she still returns regularly for follow-up appointments. Talia’s mother Joy was asked if she’d like to nominate someone for the hospital’s PFCC Star program which recognizes staff who embody the idea of working in partnership with families. Joy recalls, “Our family went through this together but I wanted this to come from Talia. When I asked her who she’d like to nominate, she said Dr. Mitchell.”

Dr. David Mitchell is Talia’s doctor but Joy is quick to point out that his role goes much beyond that. “When I think of everyone in Hematology-Oncology, the way the department is run, the care that children and their families receive – Dr. Mitchell sets the tone as a leader and the result is an amazing department,” she says. Joy acknowledges that everyone on staff plays an important part in helping patients and families going through the experience. “As a parent, you always want to give your child the best, to do whatever you can,” she says, “and this team, with Dr. Mitchell at the helm, does everything to make that happen.”

For Dr. Mitchell, who is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist, one of the key principles of patient and family-centered care is treating families with respect, the same way you’d want to be treated yourself. Dr. Mitchell emphasizes that the many team members together make a big difference to the patient’s and family’s experience.

During his studies, he was drawn to hematology-oncology because he was interested in the group of illnesses in this area of medicine, but also because of the opportunity “to feel like you’re doing something for the patient and their family.” He further says, “In hematology-oncology, there can be intense amounts of time and treatment for the child, but you have the opportunity to follow them for a long time and you get to know the family in the process. For someone like Talia and her mom, I think they really epitomize why we choose to go into this.”