Tuesday, December 02, 2008

An Autumn of Eulogies: Steven Tamarin, M.D.














Alas, in spite of all medical advances the mortality rate hovers at about 100%. If you don’t die of heart disease you die of something else . . .
— Steven B. Tamarin, M.D.
January 29, 2008 2:05 am Link
It seems as though I have entered into the autumn of eulogies. Another great one has passed away, and this time another one who has cared for me, for my family, and for hundreds in the city of New York.

Steven Tamarin was among the last of what now seems to be literally a dying breed, a family doctor. Sometimes wary of new medical panaceas, he'd posted the comment above on the New York Times Wellness blog earlier this year, characteristically funny and somehow eerily prescient.

Steve, or Dr. T as we sometimes called him, first treated me when I was in my twenties, just back from living in Japan for two years, nearly penniless and without a job or health insurance. I'd come to see him when friends who'd traveled to Central America on aid work recommended him -- I think they'd traveled there together. Despite his Fifth Avenue office he'd said Just pay me $10 when you can. Really, I'd asked. Sure he said. You don't have insurance, other people do, so pay me what you can when you can. That's how we do socialism in this country. It doesn't work well, but that's how we do it. Later he'd move his office to a somewhat more modest, some might say shabbier, space on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Steve was my doctor for more than two decades, my husband's doctor since we first met, Sweet M's doctor in the first weeks of her life. He was there at the hospital when Sweet M was born. He was the one who caught the "click" in her hip that presaged hip dysplasia and so saved her from future surgery. He was the one who sent us off to the "lactation consultants" when she lost 20% of her weight in the first week of life, uninterested as she was in nursing. He was the one I went to when there was the first intimations of Sweet M's developmental issues, and he sent us off to one of the finest developmental psychiatrists in the city -- someone who was an old and dear friend of his. He was the one I sought out in the heartbreaking summer of 2002, when our worlds were falling apart in the wake of 9/11, our businesses imploding and finances collapsing, and our nerves worn raw with the progression of Sweet M's escalating tantrums and preoccupations. That summer, frayed as I was, he was the doctor who told me that it would be better for me to go on vacation than to check myself into Bellevue. When I was seized with pain two summers ago, he was the one who found me the most spectacular surgeon. Year in and year out he was listed among the best doctors in New York in New York Magazine's annual doctor Oscars, and yet he continued to run a practice that cared for everyday New Yorkers, refusing to become a boutique practice that catered only to Manhattan's elite who can pay everything out of pocket.

I remember one appointment in particular, when Sweet M's father and I were trying to conceive — a project that took us so long that technically it qualified as infertility. I'd gone to see Steve very late in the day. He was so often at his office late because he always ran over time with his patients. Frankly, an appointment at his office was often trying because he was seldom on schedule in those years. The practice only began to run on schedule much later when he hired a wonderful nurse practitioner called Annie to keep him on track and manage the overflow. That evening his office was quiet, dusty and disordered because he was renovating.

He sat at his big oak desk and I sat in the patient's chair and I said Wow, Steve, you're renovating. And then, to my surprise, for just a moment our roles shifted to the story of his troubles. He told me that he had to do something: that he spent so much time dealing with getting insurance companies to pay, and then often not succeeding, or being paid for just a fraction of his time, that even he was in dire financial straits. He had to do something: the choices seemed clear. He could leave his private practice and go on staff full-time at the hospital where he also worked. Or he could rent out a part of the space to another practice and get a better office manager. He wasn't willing to stop accepting insurance, so he was renovating. I was reading Marx for my graduate work and we talked briefly about how the work of care becomes increasingly expensive relative to the production of things because, no matter how one tries, one cannot mass-produce one-to-one attention. We talked about the folly of healthcare for profit, we talked about the emergence of (mis)managed care.

And then with just a moment's pause we shifted back to our patient-doctor roles and talked about infertility. I said I did not want the high-tech treatments that I'd watched my friends suffer through — that I wanted to conceive or else just not conceive. He smiled with what I can only describe as earnest mischief and said I have just the thing for you. He swiveled around in his chair and started digging around in the credenza of his desk, heaped as it was with charts, files, bills, what-not.

"Here," he said triumphantly. He pulled out a small pink cardboard calendar . . . an ovulation calendar. "This," he continued with a sparkle, "is my magic fertility calendar. I don't know how it works, but every woman I give this calendar to conceives within months. Just mark down the beginning of your cycle and have lots of sex, and you'll see. It shouldn't work. But it does. It's magic."

I was meant to see Steve this morning at 9 am, for my annual checkup. We autism moms are notorious for not taking care of ourselves, and I am no different. I was going to see him because I am feeling the need to start taking better care of myself if I'm going to last long enough to launch my Sweet M to some sort of self-sufficiency. Since she's developmentally delayed, I'm figuring she'll need a couple of extra years for her launch, probably another five or ten extra years, so I'd better make every effort to be around for another twenty.

Steve's receptionist called yesterday to say that they'd canceled the appointments for today. When I said, Okay, so let's reschedule, she put Blossom, the office manager, on the line to share the news that Steve died in his sleep over the weekend.

Part of me has the heartbreaking and heartbroken feeling that Steve died too soon, died of caring too much in a world where caring less has become the only way to survive. Part of me thinks that the pressures of running a private practice under managed care were just simply crushing. But what I know for sure is that with his passing, some of the magic is gone.

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104 comments:

Anonymous said...

He was my doctor too, and I just learned of his death this afternoon from the office's answering service. Yours was the only obituary I was able to find, and I must say you captured him perfectly. Annie (his former nurse practitioner) sent me word of of a memorial service, which will be be held this Saturday (December 12) at 2 PM at the Academy of Medicine, 1216 5th Ave, 2nd floor, Room 20.

famdoc said...

I am a colleague of Steve's, a fellow family doctor in the city.
When I finished my training and decided to practice in Manhattan, Steve was there to welcome me, encourage me and advise me. Patients may not realize the degree to which Steve was a leader in the Family Medicine community: whether as a teacher of hundreds of medical students through the years, a lobbyist on behalf of primary health care for the masses or a bigwig on committees within the New York State Academy of Family Physicians.

It is going to be painful for Steve's patients to realize he's no longer there for them. His loss among colleagues is similarly immeasurable.

Paulene Angela said...

I am new to blogs, why I picked a day like today to read yours I will never know. Really my heart goes out to you, I "feel" through your words true emotions.

There is that saying that only the good die young, I believe it is true. I am sure doctor Tamarin is in peaceful heaven, and through your words and understanding he deserves only the best, he has more than completed and served his mission here.

I too have lost remarkable friends. Thank Goodness I have had such honour to have known real treasures in my life here on Planet Earth, I dearly hope that one day our paths will cross again.

azulita said...

Thank you so much for this lovely writing and, commenter, for info on the memorial service. To say "I lost my doctor" does not begin to describe the tremendous role that Dr. T played in my life. I am devastated. I know we all are.
Thank you again.

chiniqua said...

Steve was my doctor and a friend. He was also my mother's doctor, my boyfriend's doctor and my closest friends' doctor.
I just found out this afternoon. I was supposed to have an appointment tomorrow morning. I'm still in shock.
Your post captures him beautifully. He was a good doctor and a wonderful person.

chiniqua said...

Correction:
According to a woman at the Academy of Medicine the memorial is Sat., Dec. 6th (not 12th). She didn't have further details about time.

MothersVox said...

chiniqua, Thanks so much for the information about the memorial service. I stopped by the office this afternoon to see what I could learn. There was just a sign on the door saying the office was closed and a doorman who told me that people have come by all day asking about the service. Everyone is in shock about Steve's passing.

Famdoc, thank you for that view from the professional side. I had an inkling about some of that, but you capture another part of Steve.

I hope someone does a wonderful obit for the Times. Steve was a New York institution. He will be so very much missed.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful way to remember such a fantastic man. Steve was part of my family. He also was my doctor and at various times both of my younger and older brothers' doctor. I can't begin to say how much I will miss him. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Rory said...

Steve Tamarin was not my doctor -- the only time we lived in the same town was where I first made his aquaintance, at college in Illinois, forty-two years ago. He was my dear dear dear friend, and the loss I feel at his passing is beyond words. Let me just say of all things, Steve was simply an inspiration. He touched my entire family and over the decades I've treasured the times I could be in his presence. He had an easy, open, wise way of being. It is simply just hard to believe I won't be hearing that wonderful cheerful and ironic voice, centered always in a place of caring.

Steve especially touched the life of one of my children, and I know was one of her role-models as she begins her own life in medicine.

And Steve must have been a truly wonderful father, because he has left behind a breath-takingly gentle, gifted and caring person, his young son.

I know Steve will inspire someone to present a fuller measure of his life that I could possibly. We spent time together in Mexico and he taught me about the Huichol yarn drawings (Steve once gave us one made from a brain scan!), at Big Sur hunting for shells, at Santa Fe gazing at Haley's comet, at Manhattan for a parade and Thanksgiving dinner. But I can only guess at his stories from annual caring trips to Nicaragua, crusades for reproductive rights, and being one of the last best family doctors in Manhattan.

Steve had his struggles too, as have been touched on in other postings here. And he was beginning to have medical problems -- but he was uncomplaining. He could have had a far more comfortable life, but he chose his own path of chaos and love.

Now the world will be a better place for his spirit having been released into the great cosmic ether of life.

famdoc said...

A nice salute from one of his colleagues and current president of the NY State Academy of Family Physicians, from the home page of the
NYSAFP:

More Info »
The NYSAFP mourns the loss of a fearless advocate for Family Medicine, a pioneer and a great educator.

Steven B. Tamarin, MD, died unexpectedly in his sleep last Nov 30, 2008, while visiting his cousin in Massachusetts. He was introduced to the Academy by Rich Sadovsky MD when he attended his first COD. One of his memorable chapters in life was when he played volleyball at the Lake Lucerne NYSAFP Legislative Weekend with Drs. John Falenki, Neil Calman, Jonathan Harris and their respective wives. This is where it all started---Neil and Steve became very close friends. During his presidency in 1999-2000, he initiated diversity training for the Academy leadership and spent countless hours on Medicaid welfare reform. The last time I met Steve was at the WW 2007 when he agreed to do the ABFM Asthma SAM. Yes, we are all heartbroken. He will be missed by his family, his patients, and his friends at the Academy.

Jun David, MD
President, NYSAFP

Dr.Amos said...

I have known Steve since 1978 when we were both residents at Kings County Hospital, he in family practice, I in ObGyn. We both learned to deliver babies 30 years ago at a truly unique hospital, and then went our ways, he opened up a practice and I went into community ObGyn then academic ObGyn. Over the years we regularly talked about having dinner together. And never did. How sad I am now.
Steve was a truly renaissance doctor, a doctor who took care of his patients 100%.
The world has lost a fantastic person and doctor and will truly miss him.

Amos

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to all of you for your stories and thoughts. What a loss for all of us.

Josh said...

Steve was a great person and a great doctor. Life seems to be so incredibly unfair when someone as generous, wise and good as Steve leaves us way too soon. He was my doctor, my wife’s doctor and for a brief time, until she died, my mother’s doctor. He helped to make many an agonizing situation less so with caring and understanding. I don’t think anyone in the history of medicine ever spent so much time with his patients.

We would chat at Little League games since his son, Pablo, was on many of my baseball teams over the last few years and I came to see him as a friend and neighbor in addition to our family physician. My heart goes out to his family and especially to Pablo. There are no words to describe this loss. The only thing we can do is to write a few words in the hope of sharing what we knew about Steve and in doing so, remind ourselves of the lessons he taught us and to let his family know how much he was loved. The world is a better place for his having been with us.

Steve Tamarin will live forever in my heart.

Josh Grumet

Karen Farber said...

Steve Tamarin was my doctor for the past 20 plus years; I can hardly believe he is gone. His compassion and encyclopedic knowledge of medicine combined with his dry sense of humor made him unlike any other doctor I've ever known.

Despite my grumbling about the long time I would spend in his waiting room, he was always worth the wait. I knew that he was behind schedule because he actually spent time with each patient and I would get that same attention when it was my turn to see him.

The fact that he was a "family doctor" in today's world of specialists set him apart from most of his colleagues. His passion for his work and his love of humanity showed through the minute you spoke to him. That's what makes him truly irreplaceable as both a doctor and as a friend.

The world lost someone really special with his passing. I will miss him.

Anonymous said...

I am devastated.
Dr Tamarin has been my doctor for over 20 years. I feel like a child who lost a part of my family. Now that he is gone I realize how much I took his presence for granted and how comforing it was to know his practice door was always open. It was a privilege to have known him and to have been in his care. He was not only a good doctor but a rare indiviual, a real Mensch and an example to follow.
I miss him very much.

Helene said...

As Steve's younger sister I am overwhelmed but not surprised by the outpouring of memories. My parents will be deeply touched as I am. Thank you all for sharing.

Anonymous said...

It saddens me to lean my doctor for over 27 years has past on. He has taken care of my daughter since birth and I was looking forward to watching her grow as his did me.

I will miss his kindness, generosity, trust and many other rare qualtities you don't find easily.

He has been in my life since I was ten and I remember his office across the street from the Metropolitan Museeum of Art. I will remember the good days when Annie was there and together it was a family feeling and a team that made you feel at home.

My heart goes out to his beloved son Pablo who he always spoke about in high regards.

My eleven year old asked why I was so sad and teary eyed. She said he was a kind man and I should be happy that he has gone on to a better place. Her view was comforting. I will remember the good and not dwell on the sour.

NYOKA said...

i am in shock and so very sad about dr tamarin's passing. 8 or so years ago when i was in my 20's i had the luck of randomly picking him from a list of insurance providers. soon i knew i had found a gem. i changed jobs and insurance providers several times over the years but never switched doctors.

i was so thankful that he always accepted whatever insurance i had. i was amazed at how not only he but all his staff were so kind and professional. as we all know this can seldom go hand in hand. i told everyone about him and had friends start going to him. everyone i referred always raved about him as well. he was current and advanced in his practices. he was also cool, handsome, hip,and caring!

i can remember his excitement when sharing with me how he was going to a george clinton & the p funk all stars concert. or him giving me a brief history lesson about memphis music when he saw i was wearing a stax records t shirt. he always took his time to explain things-medical and non medical. he always allowed you to come in even without an appointment. when i was going through a medical issue he called me from home on a weekend to follow up because he knew i was concerned!!!

I saw him twice just a few months ago and remember as i left i thought about what a wonderful doctor he was and i thought i found a doctor for life; something everyone wants for continuity and peace of mind. every time i left his office i felt better than when i walked in simply because of his attentiveness and informativeness.

i am in tears. i will miss him very much. i will always remember him and his exceptional care.
my heart and prayers go out to his family and loved ones; to his patients and all those who appreciated him as much as i did. dr. tamarin i will miss you deary!

MothersVox said...

Helene, I'm so very very sorry for your loss, and for your parents' loss. For those of us who knew Steve as his patients or his colleagues, it's one sort of loss. A big loss to be sure, but for you it is of a different magnitude. My thoughts are with you and your parents at this most sad time.

famdoc said...

MothersVox, I hope you will forgive me for using your forum to contact Helene, Steve's sister, but several faculty members from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who will be unable to attend Saturday's memorial, wish to send the family their wishes and make a donation in Steve's memory to an organization he cared about. Helene, if you can give me your email address and the name of any organization the family has chosen for gifts in his memory, I'd be grateful.

famdoc@yahoo.com
(A 23-year colleague, friend and admirer of your brother)

MothersVox said...

famdoc, *Totally fine* . . . I am happy that this space is useful to you and others at the very sad time.

Bigeyeman said...

Steve was a colleague and a friend, but, mostly, he was a role model of caring, conscience and generosity: a great father to his kids, a great doctor to his community.

Anonymous said...

Steve was my doctor and my friend. I hope that his parents, sister, son and family will be comforted touched so many lives in the most profound ways. His spirit will continue to live on in the lives of all of us. He was a healer and a person who exemplified the meaning of truly honoring every human being. I learned from him first the meaning and gift of being present. He was an inspiration for all of us to make the world a better place. I will miss him dearly.

Anonymous said...

Steve was my doctor and my friend. I hope that his parents, sister, son and family will be comforted that he has touched so many lives in the most profound ways. His spirit will continue to live on in the lives of all of us. He was a healer and a person who exemplified the meaning of truly honoring every human being. I learned from him first, the meaning and gift of being present. He was an inspiration for all of us to make the world a better place. I will miss him dearly.

Ian Lang said...

I am tremendously saddend by Steven's death. He was an inspiration not only as a doctor but as a human being. I feel fortunate to have seen him last week. Thankful for the health problem that brought me in and the opportunity to see him, to talk to him about jazz. to laugh together and to heal. I will miss him.

Anonymous said...

I am so very sad. When I moved to Manhattan 12 years ago, Dr. T was a random pick out of my insurance book. I realized pretty quickly just how lucky I was.
I left the city several years ago, but it never once occurred to me to find a doctor closer to home - it was worth the trip for his caring counsel and warm humor. He was a gem, and he will be much missed.

Stacey said...

Every visit to Dr. Tamarin was interesting and slightly unusual.

Once I went to see Dr. Tamarin with a suspected tick bite. He confirmed that the tick was still in my leg, removed it with tweezers and placed the small dead bug on his photocopy machine. Using his techno know-how, he multiplied the image of the tick, making 20 images appear across and down the page. He then put sticker paper in the photocopy machine and made a page of stickers for my daughter who had accompanied me on the visit. We were both thrilled and horrified..

I will always remember Dr. Tamarin's smile as he handed us the stickers!

MothersVox said...

Oh my god Stacy, that is *so* great! It's *so* -- well -- Steve-ish!

As with the story from NYOKA, about Steve and George Clinton. He was all there, all the time, not bifurcated the way "professionalism" sometimes makes us!

And now I have a new word: steveish!

Anonymous said...

Steve may have been my doctor, but I hope he knew I always thought of him mostly as a friend. What a profound loss.

Neil Calman MD said...

I too, am heartbroken at the loss of Steve, my best friend. I am so struck by the stories of those of you who loved him as your physician. I share some stories of another side of this great man on my blog.

See:
http://neilcalman.blogspot.com/2008/12/in-memory-of-steven-b-tamarin-md-great.html

ArtistSoul said...

I just called in today, Thursday, to ask for a referral to a specialist and I heard the news about Dr. T’s death. I’m so sad, so shocked. I just can’t imagine that he is really gone. Dr. T was such a compassionate man, so alive and so passionate.

An employer recommended Dr. T to me when I first moved to NYC about 12 years ago. Recently I was afraid that I was going to lose my health insurance, and I asked him what I should do. He told me that he would treat me anyway and that we’d work something out. What other doctor in NYC would do that?

I loved the way he would just sit down and talk with me. He’d pull up a chair and we’d talk about whatever was happening. I’m a manager for performing artists and a visual artist. He loved Afro-Cuban jazz and for a long time I was representing bands that played that genre of music. He’d ask me about my clients and he even attended their gigs. He’d tell me enthusiastically, “I just heard this great band, and you just GOTTA go check it out.” One time recently I was struggling with how to put a certain kind of light into sculpture, and he took the time to look up a company that made special filaments. What other doctor in NYC would do that?

A few months ago I was his very last patient around 9 pm, and when we sat down together he didn’t look so well – he looked really exhausted, so I asked him if he was feeling ill. He told me he had been there since around 8 am and had a headache all day long. I happen to be pretty skilled with my hands and I’ve taken away a lot of headaches, so I asked him if he wanted me to give it a try. He said “sure,” and he lay down on the examination table, without hesitation. For about 10 minutes or so, I gave him a massage to his head and neck. A call from a patient interrupted him on his cell – but when he got up, he said that he headache had gone away. I felt so good being able to give back to him just a little bit of the caring he had offered me over the many years. And so glad that he was willing to switch roles for a few minutes – not too proud to accept healing touch from a “patient.” It just seemed natural and cool – no big deal, just caring between friends. What other doctor in NYC would do that?

I just can’t believe that he is gone. When they made Dr. T, they broke the mold – and even a sculptor’s hands can’t make another one.

Anonymous said...

A couple of months ago, Dr. T. diagnosed me as having what is called "silent migraines"...light sensitivity, problems with barometric pressure change, but no headache. he recommended CoQ10, and since that recommendation, my life has changed. He was brilliant. I told him just a week ago how much I appreciated him and his loving diagnostic capability. I'm happy I did so, because had I waited, he never would have known how I felt. Wherever you are, Dr. T., know that you are missed and loved.

Dana said...

I met Steve nearly 30 years ago while I was in graduate school in NYC. We remained close friends and in relatively close contact through the years and my moves to DC and back here to California.

During this friendship, Steve shared with me his wide musical interests and his equally wide culinary tastes. I was inspired by his world-wide travels and his deep commitment to service.

He is/was one of the most principled people I know and is/was the most consistent in following his heart and living by his beliefs.

When I think of Steve, I'm reminded of how he so remarkably combined youthfulness with wisdom, playfulness with thoughtfulness and irreverence with commitment to making the world better. And from the comments of others, it's clear he was also one hell of a doctor!

Steve touched so many lives, including my own. He's deeply missed.

Robert S Johnson said...

http://hyves.cn/index.php?l1=ut&l2=photo&l3=show&media_id=106516497&media_secret=exuu

I don't have the tech savvy to post this image but it is of Marley, Jagger, and Tosh and hung proudly in the exam room nearest the front office.

"how Far You Been Walkin' Now
about 100 Miles
you Still Got Some More To Walk
i Know, I Got A Little More To Go
i'm Gettin' Kind Of Tired But I Got To Keep On Walkin'
i'm Walkin' Barefoot
you've Got To Walk And Don't Look Back"

Steve was unique, one of a kind, and can't be replaced. He opened his office on a Saturday to give Katherine the confirming pregnancy test that told us that after many years of hell a child was coming.

He was our family doc for close to 20 years. Abigail is just a little younger than Pablo and when I told her the news her thoughts went straight to him.

Steve was so proud of Pablo. I would sit in the exam room and we would brag on our kids to each other while he was doing all those doctor things that allowed him to tell me that I was still good to go.

The only problem is, when we need a doctor, one who listens and cares, I don't know where we will go, now.

Anonymous said...

I just found out today (Dec. 4) about Dr. Tamarin's death. Steve had been my physician for nearly a decade, and treated through many illnesses. He was an excellent doctor, but an even better human being--simply, a decent person. He never hesitated in giving you the medicine or referral you needed (insurance companies be damned), in just chatting about whatever he found interesting or what he thought you might find interesting (or at least might alleviate your concerns). He was one of those few who passionately believed that people should not endure pain, that suffering neither builds character nor depth, but only brings more suffering. I am very sorry that my doctor, whom I deeply trusted, is forever gone.

Jodi Magee and Suzanne Poppema said...

Steve served on the board of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) since 1997 and was an officer for the past 7 years. We join all of you in deeply mourning his unexpected passing.

He was a dear friend and a lighthearted but seriously committed board member who served from our earliest beginnings and helped us grow to be the national organization we are today.

As you all know, Steve practiced family medicine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He also traveled to Nicaragua every year to provide medical services to indigent families. He was a staunch advocate of reproductive health and rights for women and their families and came to this position from the scientific perspective of evidence-based medicine. He spoke to the media on our behalf; he marched at the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC with us and lobbied Congress in support of women’s health. His language skills helped us welcome a Mexican doctor who visited our organization seeking support for her work there. He served on our Nominations Committee for many years, helping to recruit high quality doctors to serve as Steve did, with a seriousness of purpose but no sense of self-importance. Steve worked steadily to help us in whatever way he could, despite the incredibly busy practice he ran. His patients always, always, came first.

PRCH will miss his enthusiasm for his and our work, and his warmth and kindness. We submit this on behalf of the entire staff and board members from around the country.

Jodi Magee, Executive Director
Suzanne Poppema, MD, Chair
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

jps said...

Flew in from Australia yesterday,
picked up a NYTimes at LA airport.
Never read obituaries, but this time.
It hit me,
It said in black and white Steven is gone, it cannot be true, this man who saved my life.
I saw him last 2 month ago, and was going to phone him from Australia to make an appointment.
Farewell mate.
jps

MothersVox said...

Oh JPS that is so sad that now I am crying again. You found out from the notice in the Times? So sad.

And with your comment I guess I have to amend my original post to say that Steve took care of hundreds of people from New York, and around the world.

I knew about Steve's medical work in Nicaragua, but I didn't know about his work for reproductive choice. Thanks you, Jodi and Suzanne, for sharing that. I loved your language about a sense of importance with a sense of self-importance. You captured another Steve-ish trait perfectly.

The loss of Steve is just mind-boggling.

Bruce S said...

I'm thankful for this blog post and comments - I've been checking it all week and it's been a great comfort in dealing with Steve's passing. We've been friends for over 40 years and I can't really express the loss I feel. Over the years I've watched Steve become a brilliant doctor and an important public health advocate in NY, but he'll always live in my heart as the funny, passionate, incisive and wholly genuine young guy I met many years ago, more often than not strumming away on his guitar in some raw version of an old blues or Dylan. Even as his achievements became awesome, in the most important ways he never changed - Steve's humanity and wit was profound on the day I met him and on the day he passed. No traces of the cynicism or attempts to erase our vulnerabilities that seep into so many of us as we age.

I was lucky to have spent a weekend visiting Steve a few months ago. We lived on different coasts but I always treasured our chances to hang out - maybe once or twice a year. He has always been one of the dearest people in my life. The loss is immeasurable. Like all of his friends, I've got a bunch of Steve stories and memories. Right now I'm thinking about a Bobby Bland gig we caught at a gritty club - The Burning Spear - on the west side of Chicago close to forty years ago. Steve punctuated Bobby's performance with his shouts of appreciation and joy - and the band loved it. He carried on multiple conversations with folks at adjoining tables. We went to hear some New Orleans piano recently at much classier digs in Lincoln Center and Steve's pleasure was as unbounded and expressive as in that funky bar, cheering on the players.

I'll never forget one time he stopped us outside of a market near his place to put a quarter in a mechanical "dinosaur" - the kind that kids ride on - so we could savor the Flintstones' song coming out of a tinny speaker. And the food. Whenever I picked him up at SFO we'd head straight to the Mission District to grab tacos al pastor at a favorite little dive. In NYC he took me up to East Harlem for some street vendor's food he loved, and introduced me to Jimmy's Corner on West 44th. Lots of crazy little things and odd places became magic moments shared with Steve.

I've really appreciated the tributes here to Steve. One other thing has kind of carried me through the week - I' picked up a copy of the Buena Vista Social Club's live performance at Carnegie Hall released a couple of weeks ago. I had gone to that concert with Steve and friends, I guess ten years ago. I've been playing it a lot the last few days, because his shouts of joy in the music are part of the audience sounds on that CD and his spirit lives when I listen. Steve's unique style and his generous spirit will always be with me and, knowing from the comments here, with so many who loved him.

Daniel Altschuler said...

Steve was my doctor and a close friend of my family. I sent the following to several close friends when I heard of his passing:

To my dear friends in the medical profession (or soon to be),

I’m writing to share a personal story with you. It’s a story of my family doctor—a close family friend—who, tragically, died in his sleep at the age of 61 yesterday. He’s a man who, I think, exemplifies all that his (and your) profession can be in its best moments, so I thought it appropriate to share these reflections with you.

Steve was a family doctor on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. To most casual observers, this would seem like a swanky spot for a practice, the type of place reserved for well-to-do Jews, WASPs, and yuppies where a doctor might scoff at the idea of having to deal with the administrative hassle of treating Medicaid patients. Well, Steve never quite fit the mold.

Steve was the type of doctor who understood the fear and anxiety of illness and recognized that these emotions crossed all social, economic, and racial boundaries. Or, put another way—more in his language—he simply believed and lived his life according to the idea that everyone needed and deserved a doctor. So he opened his practice to people from all over, and word spread. Yes, patients knew they’d sometimes have to wait over an hour to see him, but they accepted it because they knew that Dr. Tamarin was late because he spent time with his patients—asking about their children, what they were studying, what kind of music they’d been listening to (the portraits on the wall attested to his penchant for jazz), and how they were feeling. But Steve wasn’t just a softie—he was a tough doctor who looked after patients, did extra research on his before making conclusions on tough cases, and took the time to talk his patients through what was going on. Whenever I traveled, it was obvious that Steve enjoyed looking up which vaccinations I’d need, and we would sit in front of the computer together to see what different regions in South Africa or Guatemala required which injection. This was made all the more abundantly clear to me when I spoke to Steve from Chile after one side of my face had swollen up like a grapefruit—I emailed him photos and the scan, and he prescribed me medicine from a continent away, clearly smiling to himself at the absurd photograph and the exotic illness that he’d helped sort out. Steve never hid his love for exploring the world, as he did most years on trips with my mother and other friends to visit the community projects in Nicaragua to which they offered their collective support. I suspect that this was one of his ways of maintaining a broader connection to the world while caring for people at home.

And care he did. During the week, Steve had evening hours for his patients who couldn’t get there during the day or who had an emergency. Sadly, a frequent visitor was Gilma, a woman who has been a kind of second mother to me. Gilma has a rare and complex combination of Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and her condition has consistently defied easy treatment for the past few years. As a Medicaid patient, Gilma always struggled to find good doctors, and she has frequently suffered cruel bouts of illness. As my mother would say, for Gilma as for so many other patients, Steve was simply a mensch. He referred her to excellent specialists, he called doctors to coordinate treatment, and, most importantly, he was a constant source of support with his gentle (albeit far from perfect) Spanish accent. On countless days and nights, Steve would answer his cellphone to speak with Gilma’s daughter and respond to the most recent crisis. This summer, when Gilma needed surgery and the specialist’s only open day was the next morning, Steve offered to have her come straight to the office after hours for him to do the pre-operation check-up. It was never a big deal; it was just how he was and how he thought things should be. Needless to say, we all know that it is not how things are done, and we appreciate Steve for his caring, his generosity with his time, and his unwillingness to accept the de facto discrimination that poor people face when they seek medical treatment in our country.

It goes without saying that Steve touched many lives in New York, Nicaragua, and beyond. But perhaps one short anecdote will say more than any list ever would. A couple of years ago, I was in Steve’s waiting room, reading a magazine to pass the time before being called for my appointment. Two middle-aged African-American women were sitting across the room, catching up with each other after not having seen each other for several years. One of the women asked where the other was living, and the second woman explained that she’d moved fairly far out into Brooklyn. This woman was large, and it was clear from the way she sat that it was hard for her to move around. Incredulous, her friend asked, “You mean you come from all the way out there just to see Doctor Tamarin?” The woman smiled patiently: “Honey,” she said, “I’ve learned that, in this life, when you find a good doctor, you keep him.”

Pat Hernandez said...

My mother and I had the good fortune of being introduced to Steve when my mom started to suffer from symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Steve always welcomed her with or without insurance. Her case was never straightforward, but Steve worked tirelessly to diagnose her illnesses and connect her with wonderful specialists. He was the rock that held us afloat during many stormy days and nights when we felt so helpless. Whenever I went with my mom to see Steve, he would always make time to ask me about my studies, work, and relationships. When my mom was in a lot of pain, he would always lighten the mood by telling us stories and making us smile. My mom swears that she felt noticeably healthier and happier after a visit with Steve. His words and kindness had a healing effect on both of us.

After spending about 30 hours online and on the phone this week trying to find another family doctor for my mom and being turned away because she has Medicaid, I am realizing just how truly lucky we are to have had him as our doctor.

Hank Schwartz said...

I was devastated to learn last night of Steve's death. These many wonderful tributes capture him so well and provide some relief. My history with Steve is a bit different.
We met in the 7th grade at Parsons Junior High School. That was 49 years ago. We were a kind of Mutt and Jeff - I was tall and he was short. We were in the orchestra class together where Steve played the oboe. He was the same wonderfully idiosyncratic person then that he has always been. But junior high school bullies are not so tolerant of wonderful idiosyncrasies and we spent some time slaying dragons together.
In high school he turned himself into a Dylanesque figure, literally a Dylan look- and sound- a-like with a coterie of friends drawn into orbit by his magnetism. He was deeply immersed in the pleasures and passions of the 60's.
Much later, I visited him in Guadalajara where he attended medical school. His passions had now turned, with even greater force, toward medicine. I had decided to become a doctor myself and our collaboration began then and continued through a lifetime of phone calls between Hartford and New York as we sought advice from each other. His commitment to people, so beautifully described in this blog, was always a model to me.
We are all of us lucky if we can count on one hand the number of friends of such quality, so close and so dear. We are all diminished by Steve's death.

Sezelle Haddon said...

Steve was my first medical director out of internship. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to serve my National Public Health Corps time at a small community health center on the upper east side, where Steve served as medical director. He and I became fast friends, and remained so for our entire lives together, 30 years. He was also my doctor, my kid's doctors, and the physician to many, many of my friends. I always told them...you can tell him ANYTHING. Whatever you've done, thought, are, he has probably been there himself, and he definitely won't judge you for it. That was his gift...allowing you to be who you were.

And for me, he was the first person who taught me to be a doctor. Not in the book sense, but in the intangibles that can't be learned from scientific studies and clinical trials. I was pulled into his office some weeks into this first job, for getting angry at a patient for being non-compliant with medications. Instead of belittling me and making me feel awful, Steve was warm, caring, like the father he became to me in medicine. He told me something that day that would alter the way I practiced medicine forever...."You can't be more responsible for your patient's health than they are for their own". It has allowed me to permit my own patients to be who they are, to come for help and healing, and to leave with love and my best effort.
I will miss, miss, miss him. His place in my life and I'm sure in all of yours, will never be filled.

Anonymous said...

ah, what to say......

Steve was so vivid of a person that my mind refuses to believe that he's gone.......and because he's so alive in my mind, he's not....not at all.

Been playing the Dave Van Ronk song: "he was a friend of mine"
and thinking of Steve.......

k.l.

Anonymous said...

Bruce S., are you the Northern California friend who introduced Steve to Yoshi's jazz club and Everett & Jones barbecue? They were only two of the many things we somehow discovered we both adored during the process of my routine physicals.
Steve was the only physician who I ever remember having lingering conversations with about anything and everything. Even occasionally medicine. But then, he was also the only physician I ever called by his first name. I loved the way he was able to keep things personal without compromising his professionalism. I guess I'm going to have to add that to the list of things I'll probably never find in another doctor.
Over the years Steve referred me to a number of other physicians and I was always amazed that when they looked at my file, they never failed to either ask me about him ("Is he okay? How's the practice going?") or, at the very least, to tell him "hi". The last referral I visited several months ago suggested I "Give Steve a kiss on the cheek. You get to pick the cheek."
I wish I had passed that on. We could have shared one more good laugh.

Bruce S said...

Yeah, anon. I guess that's me.

I posted a couple of songs for Steve on a blog I contribute to occasionally:

http://www.beautifulhorizons.net/weblog/2008/11/restless-farewell.html

http://www.beautifulhorizons.net/weblog/2008/12/he-was-a-friend-of-mine.html

Anonymous said...

i am still in tears.....it's very hard to accept that dr T is gone.

djc said...

Dr. Tamarin was my doctor for over 20 years. He was a generous and talented doctor. He was never wrong and helped me over the years tremendously. My thoughts are with his family. He did so much good for us all and will be deeply missed.

Laurie Wiegler said...

Dr Tamarin was more than a doctor. He was a friend - apparently, to all of us, who were blessed enough to be his patients.

I began with him in December, 2003 and continued on even when I moved 2 hours away.

I am still crying, though he would not want me to. It was Dr T who was there for me when I found my living situation unbearable, when bosses got on my nerves, and when menopause came early. To each of these situations he offered excellent advice and compassion. Not only that, he would remember, on the next visit, what had occurred before.

"You are doing better now that you are no longer living there," he'd say.

He had the kind of patience I found remarkable for someone living in New York.

He was angry about the lack of insurance in this country. He cared particularly for children.

He was always supportive of my writing career and my dreams of moving abroad, living in England.

He told me of his travels. I think he was pressured, though, in recent years. He would get calls in the office.

He was too kind for this world.

Good God, I will miss him. My love and support to his darling boy, whose picture I saw in the office many times, and his wife and other family members.

Laurie Wiegler

Laurie Wiegler said...

A couple more notes before they slip my mind:
** Dr T gave me a thumbs up on moving to Jersey City a few years ago. He loved it there. He told me about a restaurant he and his wife had been to way back when, very ethnic and funky. That was his style
** When I gained weight, he said "As long as you're healthy."
** He thought it was great that I'd been to Prague, London and other places in recent years. I remember him saying that with regard to Ireland, though, it was still a little backward. He was a liberal, a man who did not like hypocrisy, bureacracy and unfairness.
** When he asked, "How've you been" he always, and I mean always, meant more than how are you feeling physically. He cared for all of us - perhaps too much.

I will never have another doctor like you. And while you were on this earth, I was completely aware of how fortunate I was. I left your office feeling lighter after every visit. You had a way of making me and so many others, feel like the kings and queens of the world.

Chris K said...

I have been a patient of Dr. T's since 1982 and have counted myself incredibly lucky to have been in his care. I just found out today that he passed away. I always thought I had outsmarted everyone when I would ask for the first appointment of the day -- so I could be the one who would start what would inevitably be a totally blown schedule. I will never forget how one day he spent at least 45 minutes getting rid of a painful corn as we talked about our favorite restaurants. Or the way he took part of his Sunday to see my mom who was visiting from Virginia and had come down with the flu. I know they just do not make them like Dr Tamarin anymore. I am completely saddened and will miss him so much. He was the absolute best.

Anonymous said...

The Rolon family has lost a member when Dr. Tamarin passed. He has been our family doctor for over 23 years and has treated my husband, our children and me. We have been living in Florida for the past 3 years, but our youngest son, Joe, has always kept Dr. T as his doctor. It was thru him that my husband and I found out about his passing. Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to his family and all who knew--we are all better people because of it. Dios te Bendiga, Dr. Steve. I will miss you.

Rory said...

The memorial service was Saturday. An auditorium for 600 at the medical society, packed with weeping and laughter, singing and silence. Young and old. Rich and poor. All colors, all people.

My wife Timmi regrets it wasn't videotaped. But Kevin Larmee said it best that there is simply no way that service or any service or any listing of warm loving stories or even anger at Steve's not taking care of himself, or any of that stuff. None of it can do what we can easily do, inside ourselves. And that is we have the essence of Steve, in our souls. If you didn't know this person, all this probably just seems like grief at parting. It is, of course. But I do wish there WERE some way to convey what Steve meant to me. I read these things. I must confess, I knew Steve was special (over a friendship of 42 years) and I knew about his exploits and many many many things and stories. But I had no idea how truly much he had completely given of himself in life -- in music, in medicine, in being human.

Not sure what I'm saying here. I guess I'm trying in yet another way to capture Steve. By saying it cannot be done. But even that doesn't do it. And I can't just shut up and file it away. Because there's Pablo and Evelyn, and Angela, and Helene and Mr. and Mrs. Tamarin. I must, in some way that must be the best I can, though I know really insignificantly, be there for them in a way that sort of pays back Steve -- no, not pays back Steve -- pays back the world, for having given me my time with Steve Tamarin.

It's just so damned trite. And it feels like there's no way past that. Steve sounds like a saint. Steve wasn't a saint. He was more than a saint. And he was less than a saint. Yes he was a flawed human being. And I suspect he'd be puzzled at all this gnashing of teeth. But if we could all only be so flawed. And hang the gnashing. Only by doing, not by writing, can I honor Steve. In a way, I don't know how, but in a way that comes as close as I can to showing myself that I didn't totally waste the time I had with him. I know that doesn't make any sense.

I feel like not posting this. Like hiding it because I'm trying to express something and doing a terrible job of it. But I will be unguarded. I will just put myself out there. Maybe a teeny tiny tiny bit, I will try to be like Steve.

Laurie Wiegler said...

It's the day after I found out the news about Dr. T. I am still crying.

I woke up with a raging headache and threw up many times. I suppose that all the grief I felt yesterday just became too much for me, so I must cry some more.

Today I found an article I wrote on Arturo Sandoval,just a few months ago, in which he talked about Dizzy Gillespie helping his career. Why on earth didn't I share that with Dr. T? If one of Dr T's friends wants to write to me, please do. Perhaps there is something we can put together to honor him.

I have thought of songs, I've thought of asking the city to rename West End Avenue in Steve Tamarin's honor. It is not my place to ask these things, though, for as much as I "felt" like Dr T's friends I was simply one of many patients who felt close to him.

I do remember that the last time he saw me, he walked in and said, in his soft-spoken manner; "Hi - it's good to see you."

He meant it.

I remember I'd been in there long enough to look up my illness in one of his mammoth directories and flip the tunes on my iPod. I just never minded the wait, or if I did, I forgot about it the moment he walked into the room.

Other times, Dr T would look up the name of a specialist for me, saying no no, it will just take a moment. He also gave me his personal e-mail address if I needed to get in touch, and contributed $50 to the AIDS Walk in 2006. Stupidly, when I ran out of cash in Europe that year I included him on a global e-mail to please help now. Thank goodness he and I never discussed that (it was childish and stupid of me, but to my defense, I was ignorant about exchange rates.)

Dr T was clearly supportive of my dreams to move abroad, and as I recall, understood my anger at the healthcare system. I told him I just had to move to England because I could not afford to grow old in a country that did not support socialized medicine, or at least a more affordable plan for everyone. We talked on this for most of the visit, it seemed.

I truly believe he was trying too hard, giving too much, and not looking after himself as he should. He looked thinner and older when I last saw him. I remember the man I met, the man with the grey pony tail. He looked like a Willie Nelson type rancher but spoke with uncommon softness.

Further, his diagnoses were always correct.

Perhaps I was sick this morning because the child in me, the baby, the one who is not 47 but is still 5 years old, wonders who will now take care of her.

I think we are all feeling that way, but I do hope that my dear Dr. T is being tended for, on his private cloud, with Dizzy in heaven.

Holli said...

Holli
He was not only my Doctor but my husband's Doctor as well. My appointments with Dr T I knew would be long because I knew that he would take his time with each patient. Discussing not only why they were there but politics and personal interests. I remember once I was in for my migraines and we somehow got on the subject of TV theme songs. Do you remember "Courtship of Eddie's Father" he asked me? "I think so," was my answer then he launched into the song. I joined in and together we sang the theme Song to "Courtship of Eddie's Father."Once I asked him about a medication he had me on and would I need to take it for the rest of my life. His answer, "that all depends on how lucky you feel. So let me ask you? Do you feel lucky?" Then he laughed. I feel the same as many of you do. Who will take care of me now? Who will be as caring and compassionate and personable and fun as Doctor Tamarin? Who?
The world was a better place for his presence. He will be missed.

Laurie Wiegler said...

I did indeed write to the mayor tonight, suggesting that West End Ave be renamed Steven B Tamarin Street. Of course if it comes to something, this is something for his family and close friends to be consulted on.

I was simply moved to write that letter. I for one will not be able to walk that patch of West End Avenue without thinking of Dr T. I am struggling to remember our last visit. I think I was holding an iced coffee. Who knows.

I remember gazing out the window of his office so many times. I liked that he still had a window that opened. I could dream there (heck, we needed to, the waits were long,lol!) But when he would come in, the world made sense again.

I remembered today that Dr T and I had discuss abortion rights but in more veiled terms. Though I am pro-choice, I am personally pro-life. I guess that's how you would say it. I remember feeling a little embarassed, that he was somehow more evolved than I ...

I want West End Ave renamed because it became a more beautiful place with my white-haired, genteel doctor passing along it every day. I shudder to think of how I'll tackle my next bout of illness without his calming voice, his wisdom, his jokes. I loved the way he wouldn't allow me to feel sorry for myself, and yet told me once, "Don't ever worry about coming in here even if you think you have a stupid question." That is paraphrasing, but the gist of it.

Oh yes, one more thing. You all must know how he would bring a medical student into the room with him, with the introduction, "Laurie, you don't mind if Joe from UC Whatsa-dootle sits in today, do you?"

Well, sometimes I DID mind. Maybe I was about to discuss a personal itch or who knows what. But within minutes or less, I became as benevolent as Dr T needed me to be.

The med students who joined him were universally sweet, smart and always overjoyed to be Dr T's proteges. He seemed to love bringing up the young doctors of the world.

So many gifts, so many memories I will treasure. I miss him so.

chefsherm said...

Some of us are having an impossible time finding words to describe Dr. T and his impact on us and the world.

I'll always think of him as a friend first and our doctor second, although he was certainly our doctor first. I can only hope he would say he would think of Lisa (my wife) and I as friends first and patients second.

The only way it seemed to get him away from his "work" was to have him up to our restaurant, which he apparently enjoyed thoroughly (he would buy several hundreds worth of gift certificates for himself and Angela and other friends). It was my pleasure to bring the best single-malt or bourbon we had on hand to him as a gesture of thanks for his support after dinner.

Thank you Dr. T for everything. Can't wait to bring you another scotch when I see you again...

Peace ~

Michael Sherman

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the love, music, movies, help with homework, chilling by the fireplace in the country, trips to Florida, skiing, long conversations, playing catch on the beach, trips to Lake Placid, dinner, whiskey lessons, walks by the river with Pa, mojitos on my 21st, keys to the place when you were out of town (thanks!), advice, understanding and helping me become the man I am today. Words do no justice and I'm not even sure why I'm writing this, but I guess I just wanted to share my piece one way or another. While it hurt at first, soon I could do nothing but smile at the memories. Love you man, but you knew that.

-Quique

Pat Hernandez said...

Dear all,

I was wondering if anyone knows how to access medical records? I remember Dr. Calman mentioning a storage service at the memorial. I called Steve's office on Monday and the message hadn't been updated. I called this evening and the phone line seems to be disconnected. Any leads would be much appreciated.

My regards for all...

Pat
patricia.hernandez@post.harvard.edu

MothersVox said...

IMPORTANT NOTE RE: MEDICAL RECORDS

As we all continue to mourn Dr. Tamarin's passing, please know that the office is open and that Nicole, the receptionist, has told me that people who are local to Steve's office can come in and pick up their medical records.

Be sure to have photo ID so that she can comply with privacy laws by making a photocopy of your driver's license or other government issued identification.

The phone is not disconnected, though there are fewer lines in use, so be patient and call again if you don't get through the first time.

Nicole also mentioned that Steve's practice may continue. His family is considering continuing the practice with a new physician. Big shoes to fill, but a wonderful legacy to maintain.

Anonymous said...

I just learned about Dr. Tamarin. I am beside myself. I cannot stop crying. I was out of town the week after Thanksgiving and missed the news. I have had on my "to do" list for the last 10 days: "Call Dr. T." Each day I tried and could not get through. I was calling regarding an issue w/ insurance. I could not wait to hear his sarcastic comment about how they know better than he does about what medication I should take. Today I had the sinking feeling that something was really wrong. And now I read the news and all of these beautiful posts and somehow feel a need to write my own.
I found him randomly - I chose him over 20 years ago because he was in the neighborhood. It did not take long to realize I had found a special doctor - the kind I had grown up with, who really listened and remembered and cared. Through the years, I referred everyone I could to him. I lived abroad for a while, and when I returned I found him again. He remembered me and everything about me.
He was with me as I lost both my parents, and battled (and lost) a fight with infertility. His compassion was effortless and genuine and his humor was unique and wonderful in a doctor. I always loved to see him with medical students. I am a teacher myself and would tell him and them how importamt it was that others learn how to "doctor" the way he did. I hope all of those young doctors paid attention and learned well from him.
At first I could not understand why I feel so completely devastated, but as I read all of your comments it has become very clear. The loss of a great man, a singular doctor. And that feeling of being adrift and alone out there. Who will take care of me now? Selfish, perhaps. But bottom line, a testimonial to all that Dr. Tamarin was to his patients.
My heart goes out to his family, friends and staff.
There are not words to express how much he will be missed.

Sweta said...

I cried when I heard the voice mail in Dr. Tamarin's office this morning when I called to make an appointment. I felt a little lost, was not sure where to turn to. Dr. Tamarin has been my "family" doctor since 2003 when I moved to manhattan. He was always a good sounding board and a voice of reason. All my family is back in India and for any medical issues I would reach out to him and he always give advice not only as a doctor but also as a person who cared. He tried to fix only those medical issues that mattered, he did not try to make me a perfect human body. He recognized that I preferred the minimalist approach for medicine.

Whenever I went to visit him, he would talk about India, indian food, new indian movies any relevant topic that he thought I would be interested in. He liked to get my perspective on the india related topics. I was always amazed at how much he knew about it. He will be sorely missed. I don't think anyone can replace him. May his soul rest in peace.

Willie said...

I, too, just phoned to get a prescription renewed and learned of his passing. I am in shock. I saw him on 11/21 as a last minute patient. And, like one of the other posters said, I'd sit and grumble about the wait, but knew it was because he was being Dr. T (attentive, friendly, and caring)and that I'd get the same treatment when it was my turn. He's been there for me and my family for more than 20 years. He's supposed to be here for another 50 years. I'm heartbroken. There will never be another Dr. T.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Willie Sanford

debbie said...

I called Dr. Tamarin's office yesterday to check on a referral and was devastated to learn of his death, particularly because the two of us had just discovered, on my last doctor visit a month ago, that we were classmates at the tiny midwestern college we both attended in the late 1960s.

I originally chose Dr. Tamarin as my family's physician after moving to NYC from Texas and seeing his name listed as one of the city's best doctors. That was 8 years ago. I was amazed by the modesty yet efficiency of his office, and by the obvious affection that his patients had for him and the staff. I and my family often saw Annie, the P.A., instead of Dr. Tamarin, but after Annie left -- last month -- I had my first long visit with him.

We learned of our common past during my exam, and spent another two hours schmoozing about the college (Shimer), all the sixties craziness and idealism there, blues bars in Chicago, Central and Latin American politics, etc. etc. But mainly, our eyes widened that we had this link and had only discovered it. By the time we finished the "exam," it was after 9 p.m. and Dr. Tamarin drifted to the back of the office into the dark, leaving me to exit from the front, past a bunch of mystical and seedy looking old-man Hassidim, congregated in the dark, holy corridor of that funky, noble Upper West Side building that I had come to love when I had my medical appointments.

I am a writer, and a long time ago I did a little essay on middle-ageness and femaleness and the New York connection -- hung together narratively by an anonymous Dr. Tamarin. Here is the link if anyone wants to see it.

http://mrbellersneighborhood.com/story.php?storyid=284I

I leave it as a testament to his practice and his commitment to the people and passion and ironies of this town, this world, and whatever lies beyond.

Debbie Nathan

MothersVox said...

IMPORTANT NOTE RE: MEDICAL RECORDS

Apparently the information that I previously posted about picking up your medical records is not correct. I went yesterday to pick up mine as I had been advised to do by Dr. Tamarin's office, and there was no one at the office.

Supposedly they are in the office between 9-12 to deal with the medical records. I suggest that anyone who needs to get their records call during that window. The phone number is 212-496-2291. I have not been able to reach anyone today.

I regret any confusion that the prior post may have caused. The office is revising what they are doing on a day to day basis. To avoid making an unnecessary trip to the Upper West Side as I did, you should definitely call first.

S. Callender said...

Dr. Tamarin was one of the greatest men that I will ever meet.

stuart said...

I called the office today and was informed of Dr.Tamarin’s death. I was shocked and saddened and have carried this sadness with me all day, even as I write this message. I have been a patient of his for the past 10 or so years. I have never met, and neither can I imagine, a more caring professional. I too care for patients and I must confess that after any time I had visited Dr. Tamarin as a patient I would go away inspired as if receiving, aside from my own medical care, a lesson in caring for my own patients. He set the benchmark for care and attentiveness; for staying current with medicine and sharing that information as a means of comfort for the patient. I once presented with pain from a kidney stone. Dr. Tamarin diagnosed the problem, set up an IV and attended to me for literally hours in the office. Where would a patient find such attentive care in today’s world of medicine? We have lost a truly unique, gentle, kind, caring person, not to mention the finest of medical doctors. My condolences to Dr. Tamarin’s family.
Stuart

nelly said...

I’ve been struggling since Dr. Tamarin’s memorial service to write down exactly what he meant to me and my family. I felt I must write something even though it pains me every time I think about his passing.

Dr. Tamarin was my doctor and good friend for twenty years. He was also my husband’s, my three daughters, my son’s and son-in-law’s physician as well. I was devastated to hear of his sudden passing and still can’t believe he’s not with us anymore.

I know we were fortunate to have had such a wonderful, caring, sympathetic and experienced doctor like him taking care of us. I feel sort of lost without him; I always felt, which I know is not being realistic, that he would always be there to take care of us physically as well as mentally. During my visits he would take his time with me and always ask how the rest of the family was doing. Dr. Tamarin really cared about us all. I enjoyed listening to all his stories and laughing with him. When I would ask about Pablo, he would light up and start talking about him.

The last time I saw Dr. Tamarin was 10/30, he had a medical student join us. I am so glad that I told him, once again, in front of the medical student just how wonderful a doctor he was. Dr. Tamarin was sort of embarrassed but thanked me. I don’t think he really knew just how special of a human being he was. My family referred to him as our lifesaver, as he literally did save a few of our lives. So how could you possibly put that into words? I am so grateful to him that words alone couldn’t even begin to express how I really feel. I know I will never find another doctor/friend like him again, he was definitely unique.

This was very hard for me to write through my tears. My family and I were truly blessed to have had Dr. Tamarin as our doctor and friend.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, patients and staff.

Dr. Tamarin, you’ll always hold a special place in our hearts. We love you!

Rest in Peace.

Nelly Lopez and Family

Anonymous said...

I too just learned belatedly of Dr Tamarin's death. I am so sad. He has been my doctor for almost 20 years, and has cared off an on for my daughter, mother, and sister too. He was one of the kindest men I've ever met. I always felt badly that his life was such a struggle in so many ways. I feel especially bad for Pablo. I hope Pablo realizes how very, very proud his Dad was of him. I found out from the tape on his office phone of his death, and I'm filled with a deep sadness.

Anonymous said...

I picked Steven Tamarin by chance from a list of providers, shortly after I arrived from the Netherlands in 1997. My first visit with him made me feel as if I had a new friend in my new city. He was patient and reassuring and kind, and related to me that he had studied in Amsterdam. I have had blind trust in him and Annie, whom I met later. To me, however tedious I sometimes found life to be in NYC, Tamarin's office always felt like a place of last resort, which I will miss very much.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I were patients of Steve for ten years. We moved to northern Virginia five years ago, and regularly lamented that it was next to impossible to find anyone like him. Only this morning I sat down to fill out forms necessary for an appointment with a new practice, and went on line to find Steve's address in the thought that there might be some medical records to have forwarded. So I am stunned to discover that he has died. He was the best doctor I ever had, not just because he was so skilled at what he did, but because cared about us as us. His diagnosis and referral saved my hearing (I am a musician); his pastoral willingness to listen and to share aspects of his life that chimed with mine in the midst of a chaotic day in a chaotic practice still amazes me (I am a clergyman). I am so thankful that he was part of my life for those tumultuous ten years in New York. I went to see him the day before I left the city, and sort of took him by surprise when I gave him a big, grateful hug. I don't know whether he ever understood how much he meant to his patients. He was a true healer.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to have found you all and your words about Dr. Tamarin. I didn't learn of his death until well after the memorial service, which I am so sad to have missed. Steven was my doctor for 15 years and I know I will not find another like him. I was first referred to him by a friend after I had been sick for almost a month. I had been to various doctors and nothing seemed to be helping. Our meeting began with him sitting down with a legal pad of yellow paper and taking copious notes while asking me a range of questions about my symptoms as well as my life in general. He looked me squarely in the eye and listened with unusual attentiveness. I had never experienced anything like this, a doctor who seemed genuinely caring and interested, and who was willing to take whatever time was necessary to get to the bottom of my troubles. Within days after the appointment I was better. To this day I don't know what helped me more: the prescription he gave me or the time he spent talking with me. I know that Dr. Tamarin was a rare person and I think that what he did for his patients should be THE example for doctors now and in the future. He had an impeccable bedside manner, mixing genuine concern and solid ideas with irreverence and humor of the most appropriate sort. I cannot articulate the degree to which I will miss him, and am saddened to realize that he will not become my 2-year-old's doctor.

Anonymous said...

I only found out the sad news yesterday. I cannot begin to say what a wonderful person Steven Tamarin was, and how much he helped me. I too, am very sorry to have missed the service.

Barbara said...

What can we do to help his memory live on?

Patti said...

I am a little behind everyone on the news of Dr T's passing. I went to look up his number on Google on Friday (never seem to be able to find his business card!), to make an appointment with him, only to quickly see a notation about his Memorial Service. I was shocked and deeply saddened. I have read all the posts on this blog and can only concur with the sentiment expressed in all of them. Like many of you, Dr T was a recommendation from a work colleague when I was looking for a primary care physician after relocating to New York, from Australia, in the mid 1990s. I quickly came to realise what a special doctor he was - taking time with each patient, discussing things he knew you were interested in, easing concerns associated with illnesses or certain medications. Yes, like many of you, I used to get fed up with the untimely waits, but once you saw him, your frustrations faded away. I hope that his family are reading this blog - I guess they know what a special person he was - but it's nice for them to see him from others' perspectives as well. I will miss him dearly - not sure where I'll find another like him in New York - probably won't!

debbie said...

Barbara asked what we could do to honor and memorialize Dr. Tamarin. I asked myself this when I first learned he died, and I did some research on the Net to learn more about his life. I found that Dr. Tamarin was deeply involved with the national (NYC-based) group Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. This is a wonderful group of MD's committed to making sure that women -- especially poor women, who have the most need -- are able to access good reproductive health services, including abortions if they need them. As we all know, defending poor women's right to abortion is not a popular cause these days, but I was not surprised that Dr. Tamarin would be in the trenches on this issue. I was immediately inspired to honor him by making a donation to the group. I got a very nice letter back, saying "Thank you for memorializing Steve in this way. We miss him."

I hope others will join me in supporting what was obviously a passion of Dr. Tamarin's. You can donate to:

Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health
55 W. 39th Street Suite 1001
New York, NY 10018-3889

Debbie Nathan

Anonymous said...

I was totally blown away this morning when I heard the office message. Dr. T was the best doctor that I have ever had. He was my doctor for over 15 years. Despite the fact that I moved to Maryland for 4 years, I would still schedule appointments with him during my "visits" back to NYC to see family. Then I moved back home (to NY) and the first thing he said to me was "welcome back- you can take the girl out of brooklyn, but you can't take brooklyn out of the girl- I knew you'd come back". I just smiled, because it was true. This man was amazing, genguine, caring, dedicated to his patients. He had a heart of gold. As I sit here leaving my comments, tears are runnimg down my face. I remember going away on vacation and getting very sick. I beared with my illness since I didn't trust any of the doctors there. When I came back, I immediately went to his office, without an appointment and he saw me within an hour. In the exam room, he gave me his personal cell phone number and said that if I went away again- that I should call him if I got sick. How many doctors do you know willing to go far and beyond as to give you their personal contact information to a patient...I feel like I lost a dear friend, not only a doctor. My condolences to his children and family. They must be so proud of him. He has touched so many people. He was very dear to me. My future dr has some very big shoes to fill, practically impossible. I miss you Dr. T!

Anonymous said...

I was a patient of Steve's and I can say he was a caring and friendly doctor and I am sorry he has passed away. I remember talking to him about Mexico and Guatamala where he had traveled to and also about children which he had a particular love for. He diagnosed me with Sleep Apnea when other doctors said my symptoms were something else. I remember also telling him about a close relative I had with borderline personality disorder and his sympathy for me and his sharing with me that he knew someone in his life who suffered from that disorder. He was honest and caring to me. I will remember him.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Tamarin was the finest doctor I ever has the pleasure of knowing. I moved and my old doctor referred me to him as he knew that he was one of the best. Truer words were never spoken about a finer doctor and gentleman. He saved my life by diagnosing me as a Type 2 diabetic, and put my fears to rest as he helped me cope with my condition. I owe Dr. Tamarin a great debt of gratitude and I will miss him dearly. Gone too soon my friend, I just hope that there is a special place for him in heaven. May he rest in peace. Thank you Dr. Tamarin for everything.

Anonymous said...

Doctor Tamarin recommended very good specialists to many of his patients. Perhaps if some of you could share some of his recommendations we can carry forward his opinions regarding his compatriots and through that continue under his guidance to some degree

Anonymous said...

I am stunned! I just stumbled on to the knowledge of Steve's death because I was raving about him to a friend and went online to show her who he was and........the first words I saw were "Dr.Steven Tamarin's obit...."
I just can't believe it. I feel like I'm the last person in NY to find out.
My heart goes out to his family and Pablo, his wonderful son. My heart also goes out to all of his patients, including everyone in my family, who will miss him, as will I, more than we can ever say.

Larry said...

Steve Tamarin had been my doctor and friend for 15 years. As with the recollections of so many of these bereft postings, there was nothing unusual for me about Steve being responsible for literally saving one’s life by disrupting his already none-too-smooth schedule to attend to your medical needs, and continuing the conversation (in my case through the stupor of pain medication) about politics, a Bob Marley concert I’d attended “back in the day,” a trip one or the other of us had recently made to Nicaragua, or the difference between how he and Pablo reacted to Scorcese's concert movie, "Shine a Light.”

I learned about Steve’s death in perhaps the worst possible way. I was on a gurney in the ER of a local hospital last week, waiting for test results that would confirm the need for an emergency appendectomy a few hours later. When asked if I had my own doctor, I invoked Steve’s name and mentioned that he had privileges at this hospital; the nurse said she would call to find out if he had a preference among available surgeons. It was ironic, because not only was my wife waiting with me in the ER bay, but so was my best friend, who more than 40 years ago was assigned to be my freshman college roommate, and was visiting New York on business and staying in our apartment. The friend’s name is also Steve, and while waiting for the nurse to return, I regaled him with tales of “the other Steve” in my life, and the special commitment and involvement that made him a great doctor and a real mensch as well. The nurse pushed aside the curtain, and still holding the phone with a puzzled look on her face, said she had just checked the hospital computer registry of doctors, and found that Dr. Tamarin was dead. Suddenly, the pain in my abdomen was augmented a huge wave of emotions, not least of which was shock and loss…followed immediately by sadness for his parents, and especially for Pablo.

I was “between appointments,” having seen Steve in November, and planning to see him again in February, when this emergency surgery intervened in January. I hadn’t scanned obituaries or heard from anyone about his sudden death in the interim. This extraordinary doctor, humanitarian, cultural omnivore and engaged citizen of the world could not be more missed than he is now, by thousands of us who were lucky enough to have had him in our lives. Knowing over the years almost as much about his health challenges as he knew about mine, I can’t help joining with those who feel that regardless of the specific diagnosis of his death, the endless hours, the grinding frustration of administrative (and insurance / financial) minutiae, and the willingness to put his patients and commitments before any aspect of his own well-being, finally took their toll. It will be hard to fill the void left by Steve’s death. At some level, I know I won’t even try.

Larry Kaagan

Mona Cavalcoli said...

I feel as though I was the last one to hear of Dr T's death - I just found out yesterday! I was in a dentist's office, and they said they had to contact my physician to confirm something on my medical records. I gave them Dr T's number, and they came back and told me about his passing. I started crying right there in their office. I had been in to see Steve back in November, and I simply cannot believe he is gone. I echo all the thoughts that folks have written. He was only my doc for the last 7 years, but he felt like a friend, and the outpouring of feelings and sorrows only serve to prove what an amazing person he was. I am also saddened because he passed away on my birthday. I can only be glad that my life connected to his in a small way. I'll miss him very much. It's hard to imagine finding another doctor that I will like so much.

BeeGee said...

I am now faced with a painful task:finding a new doctor. I have actually resisted seeing a doctor since Dr. T died because I just didn't want to see any other doctor but him. however, my prescriptions are running out and the time has come. After two decades I have to look for a new doctor. If this is not the right palce to ask this, I apologize, but I don't know whom else to ask. Have you all found new doctors that you like? Can you recommend a new doctor to me? I would rather get a referral from people who knew Dr. Tamrin, and therefore know what kind of person I am looking for in my new doctor.
If this request offends anyone, I apologiz for th offense, It is not easy to move on and I hope that the people here would understand why I am asking your help.

Laurie Wiegler said...

Bee Gee, I heard that Dr. Esposito is good, though I have not been to him.

I have my file full of recommendations to specialists - orthopedics, gynecology, opthalmology if anyone needs those.

I am actually in a pickle myself as I fell down some stairs a few days before Dr. T died, was not treated, and am going into Yale Orthopedics paying out of pocket. I swear, for a month I didn't feel the pain in my back because the timing - just days before Dr. Tamarin died - was trounced by the pain of losing him.

I can be reached at ctwriterlw@aol.com.

I like my eye dr., Schottenstein, especially - though waits are very long. He's really nice, though, and extremely gifted at what he does. On the UWS.

Gynec. go to Dr. Lisa Dabney, though she's busy.

Laurie Wiegler said...

A couple of "visits" from Dr. Tamarin:

within a week or two of my knowing of his death, as I was going to sleep I "saw" him standing at a table at a restaurant in Berkeley..I was actually planning to go to SF very soon and when I got there, told my mom about this vision. Mom thought it was a SF restaurant, not one in Berkeley. I only knew it was one I had gone to once before, long ago, and could not understand why on earth I saw Dr. Tamarin in this vision, at this restaurant I could not name.

Well, that week an old friend from acting school, someone I hadn't seen in nearly 30 yrs, arranged for me to meet her and her young sons for dinner in Berkeley. She suggested Cactus Jack's. I didn't know the name, asked for directions, and said I'd meet her there.

Mom drove me to the restaurant and said "it's there." I looked to my right and sure enough, it was the restaurant I vaguely remembered from 8-10 yrs back.

I could not figure out why I had seen Dr. Tamarin at this restaurant as I was almost asleep one night, but told my friend about it. We felt that he must be my angel now, sending me there for some reason.

The other "visit" - when I slept one night, he told me "Eat healthy foods."

..
I started doing that.

After a year, more than a year, of very irregular periods my system fell back in line.

Dr Tamarin frequently told me not to worry about the Fsh scores and what not, that I had a good five yrs or so of fluctuating hormones so just live my life, that it was not up to the drs to determine if I would ever get pregnant.

This type of encouragement, like so many others, will never leave me.

I know you all miss him and have poignant memories, some have deeper, much deeper losses in your hearts than I. But truly, he and I were connected and it is ironic and sad that in our last visit he told me, "It's good to see you."

I can't recall ever hearing just those words quite so strikingly before. He meant it.

I did think that day, that day in April of last year in our last visit, that he looked thinner. He took a call about some money issue or something. I worried for his stresses, and felt instinctively that he was overworked and not getting enough help.

I wish I'd been able to protect him, to save him from being so fine a man that ultimately it was his undoing - that he couldn't turn anyone in need away.

I love you Dr. T., I always will.

Jeremiah&CassandrasMom said...

'Dr. Tamarin passed away on November 30' said the dis-embodied voice on the other end of the phoneline when I called that number that's etched permanently in my memory: 212/496-2291. I am paralyzed with sadness. This healer went so far above and beyond the call of duty for so many years for me and my children. There was nothing Steve wouldn't do to help those who turned to him - NOTHING. When the strain of being a destitute single mom with kids to support became so great that I suffered terrible insomnia from the stress, Steve found a way to share wonderful anecdotes about his own struggles, so that I ended up with tears of laughter streaming down my face. When my son suffered symptoms that rendered an explosively-energetic young guy listless and wan, Steve stayed with us long past closing time to ask question after question until he felt he knew enough to give us medical advice - and of course, when we followed it, my child became much better, very quickly. When my daughter succumbed increasingly more frequently to debilitating migraines, Steve shared his own experience with the blasted condition, recommended strategies for coping and for treatment - and I'm convinced that the fact my daughter could see that her beloved Dr. Tamarin, a person of immense effectiveness and success in the world, grappled with the same awful symptoms from which she suffered, enabled her to battle against the temptation to surrender to the pain. To Steve's family, to his loved ones, to his fellow patients - let us all remember him in the way he would most want us to ... by emulating his active caring for others, his selflessness. He lived a life SO WORTH HAVING LIVED!

carole@manhattanconnection.com said...

I just heard of Steve's death and it has come as a blow to the heart. He was the truest of true family doctors. I shall miss him and cannot imagine how he will be replaced

~Tiffany P~ said...

Yesterday, I called to schedule my annual appointment(which I haven't seen Dr. T in 2 years) and found a recording for a Dr. Espozito's office. When I spoke to the receptionist, I learned that Dr. T had passed in November. I was distraught. I've been going to Dr. T since I was 10 and I'm now 28. I still cannot believe it. He was so caring and thoughtful. I called my mom in North Carolina and told her that Dr. T had passed and she was shocked. Thank you for posting such a wonderful tribute to him.

Sarah said...

I had been meaning to send a Thank You note to Dr. Tamarin for the past few months, explaining that we had to change PCPs because we moved, but thanking him for being the best doctor I have ever been to in my life... then today I got the letter from Dr. Esposito's office that Dr. Tamarin died 8 months ago... I wish I could have gone to the memorial service if I had only found out sooner... I had only been his patient for 2 months last year in Sept and October 2008. He treated me for pneumonia and cured my husband's foot problem that he had for over 12 years.. what an amazing man. Even in such a short time he impacted our lives for the better and I am sitting here sobbing from the news. I thank God for blessing so many of us with his life. I pray we can all be as compassionate as he was to those around us.

Anonymous said...

While I said I'd refer people to drs who were recommended to me by Dr., T, now I need your help. If anyone has a name/names of the very best, most sensitive and caring back drs in NY pls let me know. I know it's impossible to find another Dr. Tamarin, but I've recently been bullied by the medical care system at a certain hospital, treated with nothing but disdain. It would sure be nice to find a doctor who could fix the problem, likely with the facet joints in my extreme lower back, resulting from a fall down the stairs Nov. 28. thanks.

Laurie Wiegler said...

I am so sorry you just found out about Dr. Tamarin's passing. I found out the Monday after the memorial service, and would have given anything to have gone. I don't blame you for sobbing. After eight months, I still cry at times; but I am doing my best to use what he taught me for the greater good.

Sarah said...

I learned of Steven's death last week, and have just read the wonderful comments. I contacted his sister, who was a dear friend years ago, and who I hope will be a new one now. And Rory - if you still visit here - it was lovely to read from you and I wish you and Timmie well.

I met Steven in the summer of 1966. He taught me love, and to listen to a bass line (The Four Tops I'll Be There) - ah, the important things of life! He was spending the next year as an exchange student at Oxford and we wrote daily letters for months, and he sent me English versions of albums from the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and his school scarf. A lovely correspondence. Time between...and he was my mother's doctor during her last illness and death in 2002. We'd spent a few hours, here and there, coast to coast, over the years, and a wonderful time at the animal park in San Diego with Pablo as a very little one.

Thank you Steven. You gave me music's soul for a life time.

Namaste.

Sarah Wrightson nee Sally Greene

Laurie Wiegler said...

Sarah/Sally, I just received your comments in my e-mail inbox and once again, felt myself misting up. I never KNEW Dr. T went to Oxford? So many times I talked to him about England, and then he passed away before I could tell him I was accepted to grad school at King's College.

I am happy to report that his friend, Dr. Vincent Esposito, whom I saw last week is really a pretty great "runner-up." In fact, I can say I feel Dr T very much in Dr E's office, and it will become a real party for us tamarites as we congregate there.

Dr Tamarin is busy jamming in heaven, I am sure, and has gone from seeing patients to seeing the musical greats of his dreams.

I am thankful to make the acquaintance of so many others who loved Dr. Tamarin.

And PS, Dr Esposito, you aren't a runner-up. We are lucky to have you!

Anonymous said...

It's been almost a year since his passing and I still miss Dr. Tamarin. He was my doctor for over 20yrs. I was on a guerny at Roosevelt being prepped for hernia surgery the morning he passed away. I didn't find out until 5 days later when I was released. I saw Dr. Esposito and want to thank him for having Blossom and Annie in his 81st St office...and also thank him for being a compassionate and caring doctor. I feel better knowing I have a nice person as well as a good doctor looking after me...so thanks again.

Laurie Wiegler said...

Thank you for posting that, and I am sorry for your loss.

We all miss Dr. Tamarin terribly, but I too am a Dr. Esposito patient and fan. Hey, I knew Blossom was there, but Annie too? I need to connect w/ her.

As the anniversary of Dr Tamarin's passing approaches, I was envisioning some of us getting together one night to reminisce. Anyone game? Sometime in late November?

I like to think he's reading these passages from heaven, if he's not too busy jamming with Dizzy Gillespie.

-LW

laurie wiegler said...

Hello, everyone - I am looking for JPEGs of Dr Tamarin - any pics you may have that you could email. I am putting together a slide show for those of us who still mourn his passing. Nov 30 will mark 1 yr.

Email pics to me at lauriewiegler@gmail.com.

Also, even if you don't have a pic but want to be on the Dr T mailing list, send me your email.

We all still miss him, and always will.

Anyway, also looking for tips on his fave song(s) :)!

Laurie

Claire said...

I am remembering our friend and doctor Steve Tamarin and wondering if anyone else remembers on the anniversary of his death. I met Dr. Tamarin during his residency at Downstate over 30 years ago and followed him to several offices in NYC. He has held my hand through many female, job and relationship issues. I am happy that I visited him on that last Thanksgiving Wednesday and was able to give him a goodbye hug. He said he was going away to chill, and that he did. He was too good for this earth. My thanks to his parents, Pablo, Keike, and other family members for sharing him with us. I will miss him forever.
Claire Haynes

MothersVox said...

Thanks for stopping by to remember Steve. I still miss him two years out. He was such a great guy. Thoughts go out to his family at what must be a sad time of year for them.

Laurie Wiegler said...

I thought of Dr. Tamarin very strongly this morning. I too miss him terribly. I have some health issues that only he would have calmed me enough to solve. I have, though, tried to be the person I think he'd want me to be, to trust other doctors and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. He did this with such grace, and it's been far more difficult for me. I also feel sad for all of his other former patients. We lost the best doctor we'll ever have, but we were also blessed for the time we knew him. We can also lean on one another for support, and on a practical note, for referrals. He referred us to many specialists in NY and I for one am happy to provide names whenever I am contacted.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Anonymous said...

Steve would have been 67 yo yesterday.

MothersVox said...

Wow, hard to believe it's been nearly five years without him. Such a loss for us all. I hope his adorable son is doing okay. Big loss for all of us but huge loss for him.

Laurie Wiegler said...

Almost six years without Dr. Tamarin. He passed away in Nov 2008. Still so tragic, every day. After having my heart pulled out of my insides the other day in a dental (not a medical) office, I couldn't help but wish Dr. T were here to ease my pain. I could have gone into him with my suffering, and he would have advised me on what to do. After he died, I remember thinking, how will all of us manage without him? Like children, we'd be left on the metaphorical doorstep hoping someone would take us in. I am not sure I believe in God or a heaven, but if there is such a place, I know who's dressed in white listening to some good jazz. Miss you Dr. T. Happy bdy.

MothersVox said...

Oh of course, you are right, it's six years. Wow. That three months, from November 2008-March 2009, we lost Steve, my aunt, and then my father. So I have it all a bit muddled. Tough time. So sorry to hear about the dental work - feel better!