Have you ever woken up, felt a little off, looked your symptoms up on the internet and come up with a list of ailments more than a page long? Rather than searching online, many of our residents come to a much more practical source of medical knowledge, Dr. Wendy Stein.
Wendy was born and raised in Massachusetts and has had an incredible and fulfilling medical career. She was born on January 6th, 1959 and adopted by Arthur and Dolores Stein. Arthur was an accountant that later became a nursing home administrator, and Dolores also had her administrator’s license. Wendy was exposed to the medical field throughout her life and quickly discovered that she wanted to be a part of it as well.
Wendy graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brown University with a degree in classics and community health. She continued there to obtain her master’s degree in medical sociology and went on to medical school. Wendy looked up to Cicely Saunders, who was a pioneer in the establishment of the hospice philosophy of care, and hoped to work with a hospice agency. She even wrote her Thesis on the topic- “Attitudes Toward the Terminally Ill”. After completing her medical degree, Wendy moved to Providence, Rhode Island and did her residency at Rhode Island Hospital. During her residency, she was able to help establish Rhode Island Hospice, working to improve the quality of patient care in the later stages of terminal illness. At the time, most members of a hospice team were volunteers, and Wendy was one of them.
After three years in Rhode Island, Wendy went to UCLA to complete her geriatric fellowship. She then became the Medical Director at the largest Jewish Home for the Aging. There, she also set up an inpatient hospice area. As the medical director, she was able to help start a program in which terminally ill patients could have a wish fulfilled of their choosing. After some time, Wendy took on the role of Medical Director of Long-Term Care Services at San Diego Hospice. She later decided to open a private practice and work with Vitas Hospice to provide services to 5 Skilled Nursing Facilities.
It must feel amazing for Wendy to know that she helped to establish hospice service programs in several locations that are still helping many patients and families every day. Throughout her career, she focused on treating individual patients and managing their pain, whether it was physical, emotional, spiritual or a combination of these. Wendy shared a philosophy that she values greatly- “Pain is what the patient says it is, where it is and how severe it is.” Wendy’s goal was always to treat pain appropriately and to help individuals have the best quality of life possible.
When not working, Wendy had her own stress relievers. She has always loved watching movies and reading “medical trash” novels, gardening and watching the Boston Red Sox play (The Red Sox actually won the world series as this article was being written). She would also knit at home, bake and decorate cakes and spend time with several rescue dogs that she loved dearly throughout the years. She and her dad had season tickets to see musicals at the Civic Center and enjoyed spending time together.
Wendy has truly had an amazing and impactful life. She is a great source of knowledge and insight and has made a difference in many individuals’ lives. Cicely Saunders once said, “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.” Wendy’s life helping others certainly mirrors this philosophy. She made sure that her patients knew that they and their life mattered and that their last moments could be filled with dignity. We feel honored to know Wendy and look forward to learning more from her and about her.
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