Hooked on ID with Harry Lampiris, MD
As a second-year medical student, I was fascinated by microbiology and pharmacology. In my third year of medical school, it became clear to me that I wanted to work in a field that required the use of broad clinical skills (both inpatient and outpatient) and that focused on the complex relationship between patients and their environment. During residency, I always found the ID cases most compelling and interesting, and I was frequently awestruck by the clinical acumen of ID physicians. But, mostly, it was the concept of the “magic bullet,” first described by Paul Ehrlich, the Nobel Prize-winning father of antimicrobial chemotherapy, that spoke directly to me. The clinical impact of antimicrobial therapy “snatching patients from the jaws of death,” which I frequently observed as a resident physician, made it clear to me that I wanted to be intimately involved in this seemingly miraculous process.
In recent years, we have seen weaknesses in our antimicrobial armamentarium and it has been gratifying to see our community working hard to preserve it with infection control and antimicrobial stewardship interventions. It has been extremely validating to see the “magic bullets” work so well on HIV, hepatitis C virus and a myriad of other infections. I don’t believe that we choose to go into ID; I believe that it chooses us. It is not a choice — it is a calling to serve.
— Harry Lampiris, MD
Professor of medicine
University of California, San Francisco