My Own Dr. Welby: A Tribute to an Exceptional Physician

Member First Name
| March, 14 2024 | for Jeffrey Magaziner, MD, FACP

I am grateful to be able to share this story about my very special doctor, Dr. Jeff Magaziner. I became his patient over 20 years ago through the recommendation of my parents, who greatly admired his warmth, expertise and attention to detail. As he was still accepting patients in those days, Dr. Jeff also became the primary care physician for my in-laws, as well as for many, many of my friends whom I sent his way. Fast forward a few years. My dad, who was a fairly healthy man for his age, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage one day after work, and in a flash, he was gone. The abruptness of this tragedy devastated my mom - as can be expected. But there's more. My parents were a truly inseparable pair. My mom was only 16 years old when she married my dad. Their 50-plus year bond was a rarity, unlike anything I have witnessed among other couples. One of my dad's favorite quips was, "every day is Valentine's Day." Together, they built a business, raised a family, shopped for groceries, socialized with friends. They did everything together. And now, my mom was suddenly alone and very much on her own. It was a hard time. But it got harder. Six months into her widowhood, I got diagnosed with breast cancer. By then, my mom had relocated to Los Angeles to live with my brother. The question passed around among my friends - who knew and loved my mom - was, who was going to break the news to her? How could she take another blow, and so soon? Each of my friends said, "sorry, not me, can't do it." And I couldn't do it, either. I just couldn't. And then, a brilliant idea came to me. I would reach out to Dr. Jeff and see if he would help us out. He knew my mom well, and they had enough of a friendship that it wouldn't have aroused immediate suspicion if she received an impromptu "how are you doing" phone call. Plus, I figured, that as a physician, he must have had enough experience delivering "bad news" to his patients to do it graciously. I gave him a call, and - no surprise, because he's a true mensch - he didn't hesitate to say yes. In setting the plan into motion, I gave him very specific instructions, which he followed to a T: He had to call at a specific time on a specific day (this was important, because I wanted to make sure my brother was home so she wouldn't be receiving the news alone) and he had to text me when the deed was done. Because I knew that as soon as she got off the call, she would be calling me. I was also asking him to do me this favor after his official workday – his office closes at four. But true to his word, he called her at 5 pm, and texted me 3 minutes later. Sure enough, by 5:05, I received her tearful phone call. But by then I was ready. Dr. Jeff's intervention gave me the space and courage I needed to walk my mom through the details of my medical crisis. I don't know too many doctors who could have done – or were qualified to do – what he did. It's not just the fact that he picked up the phone - any doctor can pick up a phone. But the relationship that he had already developed with my parents was what gave him legitimacy to extend himself this way. It wasn't a pro forma act of messaging. It came from genuine, deep caring. My mom had already turned to him when my dad was rushed to the ER. He consoled her then, and he did again during my hour of need. Many years have passed since that difficult time, but neither my mom nor I have forgotten, or will ever forget, the kindness and compassion that Dr. Jeff displayed that day. It may have taken him five minutes after a busy workday, and he might not even remember those few minutes any longer, but an act of kindness truly is forever. And I will be forever grateful to him, and grateful still to have him as my primary care physician, someone I respect and trust implicitly. Thank you for the opportunity to express my gratitude to an exemplary physician and human being.