Spring 2018

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PATRONS | Spring 2018 40 An 'Ambassador' of Care Dr. Melanie Friedlander relates to her patients as a surgeon and a peer. D r. Melanie Friedlander doesn't know what drove her to medcine. She just always knew. "I announced one day that I was going to be a doctor," the New Jersey native recalls. "And when I was in seventh grade, I told my parents that I was going to be a surgeon." Today Dr. Friedlander is a general breast and laparoscopic surgeon in practice with the Association of South Bay Surgeons in Torrance, a group affiliated with Torrance Memorial Medical Center. And she is one of the more popular breast surgery specialists serving the South Bay. Perhaps it is because of her caring nature, which stems from two major health events that touched her life. When she was a junior in high school, her father—who had been healthy up to that point—was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Very quickly, he went from being in a neurologist office to pre-op. "We were so scared," Dr. Friedlander says of her family. e neurosurgeon assigned to her father's case was a calming and caring person and explained everything to the family in a way they could understand. He also found a way to personally relate to her father; both men were long-distance runners. Her father never ran races, but his surgeon had. Eleven months after her father's surgery, he stood at the starting line for his first marathon. His neurosurgeon was there with him. "is was 1985 and I still get choked up thinking about that," she says. "He cared that much about my dad." Her father continued to enjoy marathons until his cancer returned, and he passed away four and a half years later. is life event confirmed her desire to be in the medical field, and through her father's WRITTEN BY MARY SCOTT PHOTOGRAPHED BY SHANE O'DONNELL

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