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Profiles of Courage: Kristin Lieb, MD

BY Kadesha Washington

We are continuing our “Profiles of Courage” series featuring the great work of our pediatric oncology & hematology doctors, nurses, care providers, and staff in the face of COVID-19. We hope you enjoy their stories as a source of hope and inspiration in these very uncertain times. 


Kristin Lieb, MD is a pediatric hematology & oncology fellow. She primarily works with child and adolescent patients in Columbia’s Division of Oncology, Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation. However, when the opportunity to treat adult COVID-19 patients emerged she knew she wanted to help.

“I’ve been working with our adult colleagues to fight this ugly virus,” Lieb said. “I miss my patients and coworkers on the pediatric side, but feel quite honored and honestly, quite humbled, to stand alongside our NYP adult teams.”

Treating with children can be quite different than treating adults. “Working( and sometimes just playing) with these kiddos and their families, it is truly an honor. I have learned more from my patients than I have in any classroom,” Lieb remarked. But when it comes to caring for adult patients, she draws on her expertise and the lessons learned from her young patients, including honesty and strength.

“I recently performed a medical procedure on an older gentleman. I introduced myself, made corny jokes, and talked to him as if he was one of my oncology kiddos,” Lieb recalled. “I explained everything I was doing and took extra caution when I removed the tape and dressings. Before leaving, I held his hand just for a moment, and it was a sobering reminder of this horrific virus.”

Patients need support and comfort during these uncertain times, and so do our doctors. “I’ve received incredible support from my colleagues, especially from Drs. Katie Ender & Sarah Lusman,” Lieb noted. The support of her family keeps her going too. “My family is in Missouri, so hearing their voices on the phone provides such relief and calmness. I would not be here and could not walk through the hospital doors day in and day out without their support (not to mention the cooking and recipe advice I still am getting from my mother)!”

Thanks to Dr. Lieb and all of our deployed doctors working on the front lines of COVID-19!


Have a story that you would like to share? We would love to hear from you! Send an email to Kadesha Washington at kw2718@cumc.columbia.edu.

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