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Volume 1, Issue 3
Autumn 2005:

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Marvin Sinkoff, M.D. (19?? - 2002)

Robert Caine

Cell 2 Soul. 2005 Autumn; 1(3):a3

Dr. Marvin Sinkoff, an internist/cardiologist, was my doctor from the time I was 15 years of age until he retired because of ill health when I was 55 years old. Unfortunately, after spending almost a year in the hospital with diabetes, Dr. Sinkoff died in 2002. I miss him to this day. When I hear people complain about their doctors, I realize how lucky and privileged I have been to know and be cared for by this fabulous human being.

There were times when as a teenager I needed someone to talk to other than my parents. Dr. Sinkoff would tell me to close his office door and give my problem his full attention, after which he would give me a practical solution. Although Dr. Sinkoff's office was in Manhattan, he lived in Great Neck, New York, not far from my former home with my wife in Roslyn, New York. If I were ill, or just needed an ear, Dr. Sinkoff came over — even after a long workday in New York City. I was not surprised to see him show up at 10:30 p.m., because when he said he would do something, he did it. Similarly, if he said he would call with tests results or to discuss a medical problem, he would call, even though sometimes it was late at night or very early in the morning.

When my father was sick and dying with cancer at what was then Doctors' Hospital, located across the street from the New York City's mayor's residence, Gracie Mansion, Dr. Sinkoff was always there to help him, my mother, brothers and me. I was 21 years old then, when my father died. Sometimes a family member would need the services of a specialist. Most doctors would recommend a friend or colleague. Not Dr. Sinkoff. He would research the medical profession and recommend a specialist who he thought was the best for me, my family and presumably all his patients. Because of this care, my in-laws lived long lives despite serious illnesses, including cancer for each.

There came a time when I was diagnosed with a serious illness. It was recommended that I see a nationally-known specialist, but neither he nor any of my other doctors could get me an appointment. Dr. Sinkoff's solution — I should call the specialist myself! That worked. A practical solution. That simple suggestion probably saved my life, as I have been under the care of this specialist ever since. Despite the ravages of diabetes, Dr. Sinkoff bravely continued to go to his office to see patients but he didn't charge them. He suffered through dialysis three times a week and the loss of limbs, but he still went out to dinner with friends, to the theater, and traveled. My wife and I visited Dr. Sinkoff at his home several times after he retired, as well as at the hospital. We often spoke to him on the phone. He always maintained a positive, brave attitude.

Leaving aside Dr. Sinkoff's humanity as a caring doctor and human being, Dr. he was probably the most intelligent man I have ever known. He could talk to you knowledgeably on subjects as widely ranging as the arts and dogs. He loved his beagles. And we loved him. A great human being. He is truly missed!

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