As chief of the Pediatric Center for Digestive Health and Nutrition at Arnold Palmer Hospital, Dr. Jeffrey Bornstein has been an integral part of our medical team for more than 14 years and has helped thousands of children with gastrointestinal disorders. We sat down with Dr. Bornstein to find out a little more about the man behind the medicine. Here’s what he had to say:
What exactly do gastroenterologists do?
We take care of patients who have problems with their liver, stomach or intestines. Some are minor and often get better, like babies with reflux or children with constipation. Many people have abdominal pain or stomach aches. Others are more serious - patients who are unable to eat, or who have inflammatory bowel disease (inflammation in the intestines or colon), or who have liver problems.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts about 30 miles outside of Boston.
Where did you go to school?
I received my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1985 and then went on to medical school at George Washington University in Washington D.C. I then continued with a pediatric residency at the U.S. Air Force Medical Center and a Pediatric GI and Nutrition fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
I play basketball, and I also enjoy reading. James Michener is my favorite author. I like to do yard work and gardening, and I love to cook.
What's your dream vacation?
One month of touring Europe and ending in Israel.
Do you have a favorite book?
Lord of the Rings. I read the trilogy with my son when he was in 5th grade. We've shared the books and movies as a special bond since then.
How about a favorite movie or TV show?
I don't have a favorite, but I prefer comedies- happy shows and movies. My work days are filled with worrying about my patients. I don't like to see bad things happen to people when I don't need to, even if it's not real.
Do you have a favorite sports team?
I'm a Boston boy, so the Celtics, of course!
If you could meet anyone (alive or not) who would it be?
The answer to that question has changed, as I've gotten older. At one time, it was sports heroes, and then it was our ancient rabbis. Now, I think that I'd like to meet Ghandi and be able to better understand inner peace.
Why did you choose pediatric gastroenterology as a specialty?
It allows me to see patients with many different types of problems. For most of them, I can help make them better. Many of my patients have chronic diseases. I may not be able to cure them, but I can play a part in making them, their quality of life and their family's life, better. I get to have long relationships with many of my patients and their families. I also get to do procedures, which offers a little bit of change from the office.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My relationships with my patients and their families.
What's one thing that your patients and their families probably don't know about you?
I love to cook and entertain family and friends.
Do you have a favorite memory from working at Arnold Palmer Hospital?
I don’t have a single favorite memory, but the memories that make me feel best are when a patient or family tells me thank you because I have affected their lives in a positive way.