• Cancer

    In the Loop: Leukemia diagnosis changes career path for physician

Dr. Allison Rosenthal at a women's award conference with a big smile on her face
Allison Rosenthal, D.O., went to medical school for the sole purpose of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. All of that changed, however, when she was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia at the age of 24.

Allison Rosenthal, D.O., has wanted to be a doctor for as long as she can remember. "Ever since I was a kid," she tells us. "I don't know where I got it from, but it's just something I wanted to do."

More specifically, she wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon. "That's why I went to medical school in the first place," Dr. Rosenthal tells us. But then came spring break of her second year of medical school. "I was planning to meet some friends from college after I'd finished finals, but then I got pretty sick," she says. "I just thought I'd overdone it by studying and not sleeping all week. I thought I had the flu."

A trip to a local emergency department would tell another story. "The ER doctor who assessed me got some fluids going, drew some labs, and then didn't even come back to see me," Dr. Rosenthal tells us. "The next person I met was a hematologist because my labs were so out of whack."

Dr. Rosenthal — just 24 at the time — was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, a rare form of the disease. Over the next two-plus years, she received treatments that would save her life. Read the rest of the story.
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.