Chapter 30: Major Contributions and On Being

Title

Chapter 30: Major Contributions and On Being "King Pin"

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Description

Dr. Benjamin lists his most important contributions to patient care. He then talks about his collection of pins, many of which he wears on his lab coat and which earned him the nickname, "King Pin." Dr. Benjamin then talks about his plans to retire to part time so he can select the projects he wishes to work on. He will teach and write up current projects. He notes that he likes what he does and wants to keep doing it.

Identifier

BenjaminR_03_20150306_C30

Publication Date

3-6-2015

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story - View on Career and Accomplishments; Career and Accomplishments; Post Retirement Activities; Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents; Personal Background; The Researcher

Transcript

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah. Interesting. Well, I wanted to—you’ve talked a lot about the things that you felt you had accomplished since you’d been here. Is there anything else in research areas? We’ve talked about your administration, but is anything you’ve accomplished in your time here that you feel particularly satisfied with?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Probably spoke about most of them during the past several interviews. Working out ways of giving higher cumulative doses of Adriamycin to patients, the use of intra-arterial Cisplatin in the treatment of primary bone tumors, I guess those are probably the two most important things. And, I guess, the atypical criteria for response to treatment is another.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, we did talk about that one, yeah.

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Because that really has much broader implications than just sarcoma.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Well, I want to mention one other accomplishment that’s sort of staring me in the face, which is that you have an amazing collection of buttons. (laughs) Or pins. And you’re known as “King Pin.” (laughs)

Robert Benjamin, MD:

This is an interesting sidelight. I had one patient who gave me a pin, and I put it on, and a few months later, somebody else said, “Oh, you like pins. Let me give you one.” So I put the second pin on, and then from then on, people have been giving them to me, so I keep putting them on. And as you can see, there are far more than can possibly fit on the lab coat.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Right. Do you rotate them ever?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Some, a few, and there’s some that I’ve sort of retired, only because of, you know, technical issues.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

(laughs) Pin malfunctions.

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Yeah.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What do they mean to you? I mean, why did you wear them?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Because white coats are dull, and I don’t believe in dull. But it’s also part of—it’s sort of become a signature and people like them. They comment on them all the time, and I figure sometimes it can give a little joy in an otherwise difficult situation, and so worthwhile doing.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Are there any special stories about any of them?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Oh, I’m sure there are plenty of special stories, but—

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So you don’t know why, like, a patient may have selected to give you any particular one? I’m looking at “Sarcoma Sucks.” (laughs)

Robert Benjamin, MD:

“Sarcoma Sucks,” one of our research nurses made. Because there’s been a longstanding “Cancer Sucks” pin, and we thought that “Sarcoma Sucks” had much better alliteration.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

It does.

Robert Benjamin, MD:

So it was special to us, so one of our research nurses in the past designed pins, and so she made a batch of “Sarcoma Sucks” pins for us for a while. There are a couple of fishing pins and a couple of opera pins, and most of them are just ordinary.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Ordinary pins, yeah. What do you plan on doing with the collection eventually?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody will want it when I get through with it.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Oh, really. I can kind of see it in a [unclear] on your lab coat, you know, an MD Anderson kind of landmark.

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Yeah, that’s okay.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

That would be pretty cool.I mean, do you have plans to retire? What would you like to do before your retire, and what are your plans for retirement?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Don’t know. Right now I’m thinking about probably retiring at the end of this year and continuing to work full-time.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

(laughs) On what you want to work on. (laughs)

Robert Benjamin, MD:

On my terms, 20 percent of which will get paid by the institution, so that can be on their terms, but the other 80 percent is me.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

And what will that 80 percent consist of?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Oh, I don’t know. Haven’t decided. I’ll certainly try to see patients that I currently see, and I’ll try to spend more time with the younger people, trying to teach them how to do things. I may even get a chance to sit down and look over some of the things I’ve done and write them up. But we’ll see. Unclear.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Mm-hmm. Anything else on your long-term to-do list?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Not really. No, I think I’m pretty close to finishing off.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What about after, when you finally do retire fully, I mean, what’s—

Robert Benjamin, MD:

No clue.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

No clue. And that feels good, it sounds like.

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Yeah. I have plenty of things that will keep my interested. But there are very few things that I like more than what I actually do right now. So I’ll probably keep doing most of it.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Well, is there anything else you’d like to add, Dr. Benjamin?

Robert Benjamin, MD:

Don’t think so. I think you probably got most of what you need.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Good. Well, I really thank you for devoting the time to the project.

Robert Benjamin, MD:

You’re very welcome. My pleasure.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

And I am closing off the interview at quarter of four. Thank you so much. (end of audio session three)

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Chapter 30: Major Contributions and On Being

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