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Dr. Oz takes time to make rounds at hospital

September 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
While we all see Dr. Oz every day at 3 p.m., "America's doctor" is also a physician who practices medicine in real life. He sees patients at New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center.

The first thing you notice about Dr. Oz is his sense of humor and his incredibly warm bedside manner. To him, patients are not just a heart with a chart, but a person with a soul and a need to feel safe and taken care of.

He knew he wanted to be a doctor since he was 7 when he would follow his father, the real Dr. Oz as he calls him, when he made his rounds.

"When he'd walk in there, their eyes would light up, and he'd be able to do things that materially impacted their lives for the better," Oz said.

Oz has long been an advocate of complementary medicine, knowing that healers can do more than treat the body but also support the mind and spirit of the patient. So he has pushed for better lighting, music and a central circular nurses' station where patients feel cared for.

Oz fought hard for this valuable space, a sanctuary where patients and families can have a quiet soul-soothing time.

One of Oz's patients was told she was too old for open-heart surgery, so she underwent a less invasive procedure to replace a heart valve using a device Oz and his colleagues developed.

He's a good sport and can poke fun at his celebrity status, but it's also apparent the real admiration he has for his fellow colleagues and a sincere gratitude to the nurses, who return the appreciation.

"These are wonderful human beings who dedicated their lives to doing the heavy lifting in the health care system," Oz said.

He's quick to get from one floor to another, always taking the stairs, but when he gets there, he intuitively slows down to really hear and see each patient.

"That's why I come here, that's why I come back to hospital. It's because I'm not busy enough," Oz said. "I crave the feeling you have when you're part of a team of people who are taking care of others."

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