Dr. Eric Rellinger

Making the Rounds with Dr. Eric Rellinger

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For this edition of Making the Rounds, we interviewed pediatric surgeon Eric Rellinger, MD. Dr. Rellinger performs neonatal and minimally invasive surgery, among other procedures.

We spoke with Dr. Rellinger about the type of patients he treats and what drew him to his medical career.

What’s a typical day at work like for you?

I'm fortunate they gave me the opportunity to be a surgeon scientist. So, half of my time is spent caring for patients, and the other half is spent studying neuroblastoma, which is a childhood cancer.

I see children with a variety of abnormalities throughout the body, things as straightforward as hernias or appendicitis and then other things that are congenital or unusual anomalies that kids are born with. I also care for children with cancer, and that's a particular focus or interest of (mine).

Tell us about your approach to treatment.

I really try to focus in on how can I make this experience better for the family and, first, to listen and understand the experience of (the patient and the family). That helps me both really inform what's going on, but then also it helps me figure out what the best treatment strategy is for a particular patient and their family.

What makes UK HealthCare stand out in your field?

Here at the University of Kentucky, they have devoted a large amount of resources toward understanding how cancers utilize nutrients to grow beyond the normal ways in which cells grow. So, how do cancer cells grow faster than normal cells? And how do they spread to other areas?

My job … is to understand how that works in pediatric cancers. And really, the focus of what I want to understand is how do pediatric cancers utilize nutrients in patients themselves, which is a window that really nobody has looked into at this point in time. And the potential implications of that has the capacity to alter the way in which we think about caring for children with cancer.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Treating children is a privilege first and foremost, and that privilege is something that I don't take lightly. I think pediatric surgery is one of the most rewarding fields that you can be in.

There are a few fields in medicine where you can rapidly change the trajectory of somebody's life and then the impact of that can be 75 or 80 years of health. That sort of impact and longevity is really, really rewarding.

Watch our full interview with Dr. Rellinger.

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This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.