A horrible way to find a new pediatrician

Just about eleven years ago, when Juliana was only twelve hours old and I was getting used to being a brand new first-time mom, a little Chinese lady walked into my hospital room to tell me that Juliana looked great. My response was “Thank you, who are you?”

The woman’s response was “I am Grace Chiang, her pediatrician. Were you expecting someone else?”

Truth is, I wasn’t expecting anyone. Juliana was born four weeks early, and I had scheduled appointments to meet a variety of pediatricians that I obviously never made it to due to her early arrival. I learned that my OB GYN had listed Dr. Grace’s practice as my pediatrician, since I did not have one. She was the doctor sent from the practice. Although I liked what she had to say that morning, I was a little upset that I had never gotten a chancce to interview other doctors and decide on my own who we wanted to be ours.

Dr. Grace came every morning that Juliana and I were in the hospital, and by the fourth morning, when she signed the baby’s release, I was beyond any doubt sure I was sticking with this awesome pediatrician, who I had learned had a son just a little older than my daughter.

Over the years, Dr. Grace had another baby, she left the practice she was in and moved on her own (which of course we followed), she treated my other three children, visiting the hospital again every morning that my youngest son Joseph was there after his birth. Dr. Grace was a great pediatrician, one we trusted, one we cared about, one who cared very much about us, and a member of our “family”. When we planned our move to Long Island, I was hesitant about finding a new pediatrician. My husband and I discussed with Dr. Grace that we’d be remaining in her care for well visits, but we all decided that for emergencies, it might be good to have someone close by. I was very happy, because I knew I would always have Grace to call in the event I needed her advice or medical opinion. I was wrong.

Less than a month of our move, I received the shocking news that our beloved Dr. Grace Chiang had passed away suddenly of a brain aneurism. Grace was only 43 years old, and left behind her husband and two young boys, along with her parents, all of whom we had met at some point or other during our eleven years in her care. Our hearts are broken and we are so sad for her family.

That same week, Joseph started burning a fever of 104.1. A seasoned mom of four, I have to admit that this temperature scared me.  After taking him to the after hours emergency pediatrician in our town and no diagnosis, I put out some feelers for pediatrician referrals.  Two of my friends referred Bellmore-Merrick Pediatrics with Doctors Opperheimer, Marchitelli and Fasano. 

The office got us in right away.  I saw Donna, one of the nurse practitioners, and Dr. Oppenheimer came in and introduced himself.  I was very happy and impressed, although not too happy that Joseph had the flu (and it wasn’t tested at the emergency office).  

Two weeks later, when Juliana got strep throat, Dr. Oppenheimer saw her right away and was very welcoming to my almost 11 year old, difficult to please pre-teen daughter.  We are set.  We found our new pediatrician office.  My heart is broken for Dr. Grace’s family, and she will be truly missed, but I can be more at ease knowing my children will have a great office to continue with.


2 Responses to “A horrible way to find a new pediatrician

  • SO sorry.. My pediatrician is also part of our family. I could not imagine. xoxoxo

  • Mike Y.
    6 years ago

    We also used Dr. Grace Chiang for our son (born in the year 2000). And like you, followed her when she left her group practice to strike out on her own. What a great pediatrician and what a sad loss.

    BTW, my son found this blog when we were trying to determine what happened to Dr. Chiang. Thanks for posting this.