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“You have to choose… to hope and move forward”: A look back at a doctor driven by hemophilia

When I met Holbrook Kohrt, MD, in 2009 he seemed to specialize in the impossible. Born with severe hemophilia, simply surviving to adulthood despite the perils of his condition and the HIV epidemic was close to miraculous. But here was Kohrt, recently finished with his residency in internal medicine and starting PhD studies to learn how to design and analyze clinical trials. I interviewed him for a Stanford Medicine magazine article that year, and in the years that followed watched him go on to great success testing cancer treatments as a Stanford assistant professor of oncology.

Kohrt later reflected on his survival and philosophy in a 2013 Stanford Medicine article by Krista Conger:

"Essentially I just got really, really lucky," says Kohrt. "What it really underscores for me is that, in some parts of your life, things are under your control, and in others they are not. Initially there is a very high level of fear when you realize that the outcome is out of your hands. You have to choose whether you're going to perseverate on that and feel that fear every day, or if you're going to hope and move forward."

Sadly, the odds caught up with Kohrt. He died earlier this week, but not without accomplishing the impossible. For an inspiring view of his life, take a look at the full piece.

Previously: Both a doctor and a patient: Stanford physician talks about his hemophilia
Photo by Kris Newby

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