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Profiles of Courage: Monica Bhatia, 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. 


Monica Bhatia, MD, is an attending pediatric hematology-oncology physician at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, where she treats children with blood disorders in both the inpatient and outpatient units. At the height of the pandemic, the threat of coronavirus exposure brought added risk and concern for patients with blood diseases or compromised immune systems.

“I admitted one of the first hematology/oncology patients with COVID-19. Although it was frightening, I was proud to be part of a team that cared for this child in a way that was calming to the patient and her family.”

Showing compassion and composure are critical aspects of patient treatment and care. Bhatia knows this from her experience as a physician and also as a mom.

“My son was spiking high fevers, and I was very concerned,” she said. “At the time, I was the inpatient attending physician. My colleagues happily took my service time, which allowed me to care for my son. Even though he ended up not having COVID, my co-workers regularly checked in to see how my family was doing.”

One thing that was evident throughout the pandemic was the genuine camaraderie in the Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation. As Bhatia shared, “I am working with a special group of people who are not just my colleagues but my friends. We are all working together to ensure the safety and health of our patients as well as each other.”


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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