Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In Memorium- Daniel J Kliman, MD


I found out some bad news today. My doctor died. He was 38 years old. It's strange because I was thinking last night as I fell asleep how those of us with a serious chronic illness and housebound are often isolated so our relationships with MD's can be that much more meaningful.

This was especially so with Dr Kliman whom I saw monthly. He was the one who referred me to someone who diagnosed me within 5 weeks of seeing him which is relatively unheard of with an illness like CFIDS. He took my symptoms seriously from the get go, did some creative testing, referred me to a rheumatologist (to rule out Lupus) and then prescribed Valcyte.

Each appointment we would spend at least an hour talking about things having nothing to do with medicine. Mostly revolving around his life outside of being an MD so I learned a lot about him. Medicine was his calling. He was devoted to Judaism and an active member of his synagogue on Oakland. So much so that he lived near there and biked to work every day. He was co-founder for a group called a Voice for Israel. Many of our conversations revolved around Israel. He told me about how his nephew's Hebrew name meant "tree". He loved learning languages and was taking Arabic.

The last time I saw him was 11/20. We spent so much time talking that the other patient was getting agitated and threatening to leave so I didn't get a chance to tell him that I thought he was a really good doctor. I had planned on sending him a card over the holiday's saying so. I had also planned on saying in the card how much our relationship meant to me and how much I enjoyed our talks. In fact during our last visit I said to him I felt inspired and realized that just because I was sick didn't mean I couldn't stop learning or studying.

He was eagerly looking forward to his two week trip to Israel starting Thanksgiving.

I always knew where I stood with him. He was vocal about not liking to work with CFIDS's patients because they made him feel helpless. He said he didn't mind working with me because I was so matter of fact about the whole thing-I wasn't trying to get him to cure me. I appreciated his honesty. In spite of his feelings he ran tests and was a good medical doctor. I had decided I was going to continue seeing him even though we were moving out of town and that I was going to have him follow me while on Valcyte since he was covered by my insurance. He was looking forward to seeing how Valcyte worked and told me I would be his first Valcyte patient.

It was also during our last visit that he shared some information with me that leads me to the conclusion that his death was not an accident. Something had occurred a week prior that he was puzzled and a bit rattled about. He shared it with me. I commented how it sounded like a spy novel and was puzzled as well.

He died by "falling" down an elevator shaft in San Francisco on Tuesday the 25th. There are too many questionable things about his death. He was too smart a man to walk into an open elevator shaft. His body was found on Monday.

I always knew Dr. Kliman was there in the background. I could get a same day appointment whenever I needed and he had a brilliant mind always surprising me with the details he remembered about me. I felt safe knowing that if I were ever hospitalized that the hospital would get accurate current information from Dr Kliman simply because he had such a good memory.

It was clear that though he loved medicine that he had many, many interests loved life, and lived it fully. He lived his life with integrity according to his values and wasn't afraid to stand up for what he believed.

It's been very upsetting. I will really miss him. My world is really small right now and he had a big place in it.

שלום עליכם shālôm ʻalêḵem or sholom aleichem Dan Kliman

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you please share with us what it was that Dan told you which "rattled" him? Maybe it's important and could be a clue in the investigation.

David said...

He was my doctor too, and it pains me to see so many (other) blog postings and other mentions of him that treat his life and death so abstractly. It was refreshing to stumble upon yours.

When I found Dr. Kliman, I was "escaping" the clutches of another doctor who had all but butchered me in a bad procedure. Dr. Kliman (and Sharon, his assistant) made me feel immediately comfortable and safe. When I later learned about all his causes and passions, I boasted to my friends about what perfect fit for a doctor I had found. I looked forward to talking to him about it on our next visit, which was to be later this month.

Thanks for your heartfelt posting, and best of luck with your health! I wish us both luck in finding a new physician as qualified and human as Dr. Kliman.

Renee said...

How very very sad. Please know that you are in my prayers for the loss of your friend and doctor. He sounds like a wonderful person and it is tragic that he is not longer here to touch those who meet and doctor with him. His family is in my prayers.

Gentle hugs
Renee

Rob Ennals said...

Yes, please do tell us what Dan told you. Anything that helps the police take this more seriously could be hugely valuable. I was a good friend of Dan and find it hard to believe that this was an accident.

Rob Ennals said...

From SFGate:

Investigators urged anyone with knowledge
of Kliman's activities or whereabouts on the day of his death, or in the days
immediately before, to contact police Lt. James Spillane at (415) 553-1975

cfswarrior said...

David-

Thank you for your comments. He was definitely a unique doctor. It's really a tragedy.

It was nice to hear from a fellow patient. We both know what we're going through.

I wish you luck too in finding a new doctor. These will be big shoes to fill that's for sure.

Keep me posted...

Terri

cfswarrior said...

Renee-

Thanks for the hug and prayers-I can use them both. My prayers are also with his family. Services will be held in NY where his family lives. Hopefully there will be something local also and that I'm well enough to attend.

cfswarrior said...

Rob-

My heart goes out to you. I too find it hard to believe it was an accident.

I did speak with Lt Spillane. I believe they are doing an thorough investigation into Dan's death.

Kerry said...

This is so sad (and mysterious). So sad for him, for his family and for you.

Our doctors who stick with us, who see who we are and not just our hard to treat illnesses, mean the world to us! Dr. Kilman sounds like he was a wonderful doctor who truly cared. I'm so sorry for your loss.

I hope the SFPD and/or the FBI do listen to you. It sounds like the doctor shared a lot with you and what you have to say needs to be heard.

angie85 said...

It is so true the way you describe dr.kliman..He was my primary physician for a little over 6 yrs and really made a difference in my health..He genuinly cared about his patients and was truly an interesting man who was vibrant. I am 23 and fellt in his presence that there was no age difference..He got me..and I got him..I am devastated by his loss as well..I am comforted to know he impacted so many people and his patients..I never doubted his impact..I am also comforted by the fact that we mourn his loss together since we cannot unforttunately bring him back..This world is so much colder without him..He inspired me despite all the anxiety in my life he was helping me work through..I am going to do something,anything for a good cause in memory of him..I miss you dr. kliman...u got me like no one else...r.i.p.

Tova said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences -- it really helps to hear other people saying the same things I feel about him. I was a patient of Dr. Kliman's since I moved to California, and I just found out about his tragedy today.

He saved my life when I had a pulmonary embolism -- he insisted on tests that the lab techs didn't want to bother with. I would have died that day if he hadn't taken that stand. He always fit me in the same day if I was sick, and even though I always had to wait for appointments, I knew it was because he always took the time to really talk each patient to find out what was really going on. He was such a good doctor and a really good person, and I feel such a great loss knowing that he's gone.

CDS said...

Dr. Kliman was also my internist. I am shocked beyond belief to learn of his tragic demise. It is very rare to connect with a physician who truly listens, who understands, and who helps you reach your optimum health the way he did. I will miss him greatly and hesitate to embark on a search for a physician of his nature and quality because I know it will not occur overnight. I am sorry that you as well have lost a great and caring doctor. I read that you like pets so I hope you visit my blog about my wonderful dog and his dog friends as they are very heart-warming animals. Please visit Chkarazanh2.blogspot.com. My dogs give me joy that I cannot find anywhere else on this earth. Daniel Kliman may be gone, but not forgotten and I hope that all of the facts of his death are discovered. I do not believe that it was an accident. In any case, best of luck to you in treating your medical condition and I hope you find as caring and astute of a physician as Dr. Kliman. May he rest in Peace.