Committed to the Cause
Paul Friedlander never had to wonder about what he wanted to do when he grew up or where he wanted to do it. As a fourth-generation physician, Friedlander knew he wanted to be in medicine and as a New Orleans native, he only had one question, “Why not New Orleans?”
After receiving his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University, Friedlander returned to New Orleans to attend Louisiana State University’s medical school. He continued at Louisiana State University Medical to complete his training to be an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor.
“While I was at LSU,” Friedlander says, “I was really fortunate to know the late Marvin Trail (M.D.). He helped me to spend six months during my residency at M. D. Anderson where I realized that I really liked surgery.”
During Friedlander’s time at the Houston cancer treatment center, his surgical experience inspired him to expand his specialty. “I really liked being able to help patients with the really big problems,” Friedlander says.
With his sights set on surgical cancer treatment, Friedlander spent the next two years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. So, when he returned to New Orleans in 1997, Friedlander wanted to share his talents with his hometown.
“As a native, I love this community,” Friedlander says. “I love it because it is so diverse. I feel I’ve been very blessed to be able to care for all types of people in this community and to meet and help a lot of neat people.”
With a passion for his work and the community he serves, Friedlander hopes to see New Orleans rebuild stronger and better than it was before. For him, the number one goal is for the city to provide the highest standard of care as possible.
After Hurricane Katrina, he returned as soon as possible and joined the team at Tulane University’s Medical School where he is now the interim chairman and a clinical associate professor. “After Katrina, I think everyone wanted to do something to help,” Friedlander says. “My wife and I thought and prayed about it and decided the best thing I could do was to keep doing what I do.
“So, I guess my major goal was to make sure that there was the kind of care available to people returning to the city.”
In the wake of the storm and the move to Tulane, Friedlander’s dedication and commitment brought most of his patients back. Like many doctors in the city, Friedlander spent much of his time immediately after Katrina communicating with patients throughout the nation. But, unlike most, Friedlander worked to make major surgeries available in New Orleans.
“Immediately after Katrina,” Friedlander says, “We had a young patient who we were able to perform major cancer surgery on.
“It made me so happy to be able to provide her this service and that she didn’t have to leave her community to receive her treatment.”