His life as a hemophilia patient provides unique insights into patient care
Boonshoft School of Medicine fourth-year student Kyle Davis was one of 15 recipients nationwide to receive the 2013 American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Award.
Diagnosed at six months with hemophilia, a rare blood clotting disorder caused by inactive or deficient blood proteins, Davis has known since he was a child that he wanted to enter the pediatric hematology/oncology field.
Davis had ankle bleeds at least once every two weeks. When he was seven, he started prophylactic, or preventive, treatment with his parents’ help. When he was a teenager, his hemophilia nurse trained him to self-infuse the missing blood factor.
During middle and high school, he played baseball, basketball, and ran cross- country. But he developed arthritis in his right ankle. “I’m frustrated that hemophilia has limited me in that way,” he said. “Because I can’t run anymore, I bought a road bike and started biking.”
He self-infuses every other day. “Being medically inclined, I’m highly motivated to maintain my treatment regimen,” said Davis, who wants to serve as a mentor to people with hemophilia.
Davis is one of 18 national community speakers with the Baxter Healthcare True Identity Program. He educates families and patients about the importance of adhering to prophylactic treatment and has spoken before the Ohio Health and Human Services Subcommittee as an advocate for funding the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps.
He has served as the copresident of the medical school’s Pediatrics Club and as vice president of Phi Rho Sigma, a service organization.
His medical school peers recognized him for his commitment to service and patient care by nominating him for the Arnold P. Gold Humanism Honor Society.
His interest in international health led Davis on a Boonshoft School of Medicine Global Health Initiative medical mission trip to Peru. He also traveled to Paris, France, to attend the 2012 World Federation of Hemophilia World Congress.
“Hemophilia has shaped my life,” said Davis, who wants to become the director of a hematology/oncology center in the United States and dedicate a portion of his career to international health care. “I know my life as a hemophilia patient will provide unique insight into my patients’ experiences and will allow me to better understand their needs.”