Dr. Mom & Dad
Back in the day
Drs. Frances and Harold Friedman
Katherine, born November 1963
Elizabeth, born May 1966
Theodore, born January 1968
Frances and Harold Friedman, who retired in 2003 after more than 30 years on the Dartmouth faculty, were both allergists; he was also longtime chair of the DMS Admissions Committee and is still a member of the committee. Both were themselves the children of physicians; her father was a general practitioner and his was a radiologist. And two of their three children have gone into medicine as well. Beth, their second daughter, a 1997 graduate of Dartmouth Medical School, is now an allergist herself in Rochester, N.Y., while their son, Ted, is a fourth-year resident in pathology at Emory University. Fran and Hal Friedman met when they were both residents in internal medicine at the University of Michigan. They had their first child during Fran's second year of residency, their second when Hal was in the public health service after he finished residency, and their third after Fran had finished her residency.
How did you manage a romance in the midst of
the rigors of residency?
Frances: We started dating in March, because I remember he took me out to dinner for my birthday in April. He proposed in August and we were married in December.
Harold: And she was pregnant by February.
Frances: We didn't mess around! I had my first child during residency, in my second year—and they didn't have maternity leave then. I had to go tell the chief of service that I had to change my vacation time from June to November. We were looking at the board where our schedules were lined up, and he said, "This schedule is etched in stone." And then he said, "Why do you need to change your vacation time?" And I said, "I'm going to have a baby in November." He puffed away on his pipe and said, "Let me think about this." He did end up changing both my and Hal's vacation time. I had the baby November 10 and went back to work December 1.
How did you manage having children
The chief of service "said, 'Why do you need to change your vacation time?' And I said, 'I'm going to have a baby in November.' He puffed away on his pipe and said, 'Let me think about this.' He did end up changing" it.
Frances: I think residency these days is much more stressful. We didn't have the acuity of patients in the hospital that residents have today. We were on call more, but we weren't getting two or three patients every night who were at death's door.
Harold: We were worked hard, though. And in some ways, it was harder because we didn't have the support system that residents have today. We didn't have day care at the hospital, for example. You had to have someone in your home or have a private babysitter.
Did you ever encourage—or discourage—your
children from entering medicine?
Harold: No. The two who went into medicine both entered it fairly late. Beth worked for publishers after college at Haverford but realized that liking literature and selling books were different things. She was four years out of college before she went to Harvard Extension School to do her premed requirements. Ted had been an economics major with a Japanese minor and had a master's degree in Japanese. He was 28 when he decided to go to medical school and did his premeds at Penn.
How was it having children and practicing when
women weren't as well represented in medicine
as they are today?
Frances: I never had the awful tales to tell about being discriminated against. But when I applied to medical school at the University of Michigan, they always accepted 200 men. And then there were spots for a few women—there were 12 women in my class.
Harold: There were 125 men and three women in my class at the University of Pennsylvania.
Did you have any particular strategy for managing
Frances: I had to institute a "parent of the week" system so that I didn't always have to be the one to make sure they did their chores and homework or whatever. One night, Hal was upset that the kids weren't in bed. I said, "Aren't you 'parent of the week' this week?"
Mitchell, a 2006 graduate of DMS and a former member of the Dartmouth Medicine Editorial Board, has written many articles for the magazine—including features on the Patient Partnership elective and on health-policy talks at DHMC by the 2004 presidential candidates. She is now a resident in surgery at Cornell's New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. She conducted the interviews from which the Q&As on the following pages were adapted this past spring, just before her graduation.
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