Next year, Natalie Blum, D.O., will become a pediatrician. Her father, Robert Blum, D.O., has been a pediatrician since 1994. His father, George Blum, M.D., has been in pediatric practice since 1960, and his father …
Well, the Blum pediatric dynasty goes back only three generations so far. George Blum’s father was an immigrant from Hungary who made his living as a waiter.
George Blum of Bloomfield Hills was born in Detroit and graduated from Wayne State University and the University of Michigan Medical School.
He has fond memories of his own pediatrician. “He always seemed to make me feel better when I was sick, and that was in the days before antibiotics,” he said.
He joined a pediatrics practice started in the late 1940s by John Pollack, chief of staff at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and Samuel Bernstein, chief of pediatrics at Sinai Hospital of Detroit, whose offices were near Seven Mile and Curtis in Detroit.
When the doctors moved to Southfield in the mid-1960s, they named their practice Southfield Pediatrics. The nine-doctor practice still uses that name, even though its offices are now in Bingham Farms and Novi.
Robert Blum says his father was an excellent role model. “I haven’t met anyone who enjoys work as much as he does,” he said. At 86, George still goes to the office and sees patients every day. His wife, Joyce, had her hands full raising their five children.
Robert, 56, of Beverly Hills is the only one of those children who followed George into medicine, though daughter Kathy Moss is a pediatric nurse.
Robert remembers toddling around as a preschooler with a toy doctor’s bag, but he didn’t initially plan on a medical career. After graduating from U-M and working as a stockbroker for a few years, he returned to college for the prerequisite science courses and then went to medical school at Des Moines University. He joined his father’s practice in 1994.
“I always wanted to do primary care, and I thought about internal medicine for a while, but kids are just more fun!” he said.
His daughter, Natalie, 29, is starting the final year of her pediatrics residency at St. John Providence Hospital in Detroit. She always knew she wanted to be a pediatrician, said her father. “She has always loved kids, and she was a kid-magnet,” he said.
When Natalie was in high school, she helped in the office by taking and transcribing patient histories. Her father and grandfather both hope she’ll join them in practice when she finishes her residency.
Robert Blum’s other children chose different career paths. Madeline, 27, is a social work student at U-M. Cameron, 23, graduated from U-M and works as a researcher at Walt Disney World in Florida. Weston, 21, just graduated from U-M with a degree in screenwriting and is headed to California.
Another of George’s grandchildren, Henry Moss, Kathy’s son, has one year left at U-M Medical School, but so far, he is planning to specialize in emergency medicine.
The Blums have many young patients whose parents were patients themselves a generation ago. George has even started to see some grandchildren of his earliest patients.
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“I know some doctors are discouraging their children from going into medicine because it takes so long, it’s so difficult and it’s so expensive, but I think [being a pediatrician] is the best thing that ever happened to me,” George said. “I enjoy it every day.”