Photo by Cameron Wittig
Mumtaz Kazim of Edina Family Physicians
Family Physician / President of Edina Family Physicians
Top Doctors Designee: 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
How did you decide you wanted to go into medicine?
Both of my parents were practicing physicians on the island of Trinidad. They owned a 17-bed hospital during my childhood. I remember tagging along with my mother from room to room and visiting the patients. Family practice covers the entire spectrum of medicine. It’s really a job where you can get to know the family members from one generation to another—assisting them with all their medical needs. I really love that.
What’s the most common question or fear you hear from patients?
The most common fear is of cancer. Another is cardiac illnesses. The most common questions I get are often about weight: Why am I gaining weight?
What has been the biggest change in family medicine since you started your career?
One is the increased role of women in medicine today—that is so different than when I started 30 years ago. And the second is the electronic medical records—that has changed things considerably.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
Earlier on in my career, I had a patient with a cardiomyopathy and he needed to have a heart transplant. In those days, the insurance coverage for heart transplants was not clear-cut. He ended up in the intensive care unit and needed an artificial heart and then a heart transplant, and I remember being on the phone for 14 hours pleading and arguing my case with the insurance company. I eventually got the OK for it all to be covered, and he lived for 20-plus years after that. I learned a lot from that, you know. It’s important to persevere, to keep trying again and again, to look to the future and never, never, never give up.
What is the most important trait someone in family practice needs to have?
A passion for medicine and a compassion for patients.