They say a picture is worth a thousand words but for new Gillette Children’s pediatric neurologist, Charbel El Kosseifi, MD, a picture is worth changing his life.
“I saw a photo on the Gillette website of a young girl who did not have arms but, thanks to the care at Gillette, she was able to ride a bike,” El Kosseifi recalls. “This spoke to me and was an example of the philosophy I have when working with patients. I want all my patients to enjoy life. I want them to be happy.”
The photo that inspired El Kosseifi to explore working at Gillette Children’s was of Ruth Evelyn (RE) Pranke who was born missing her arms. RE and her mother came to Gillette to work with prosthetist Michelle Hall. When RE expressed a desire to ride a bike Hall and members of the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Seating (OPS) team custom-made a device that rests against RE’s shoulders and connects her to the handlebars of her bike.
“I even dreamed of that photo,” El Kosseifi says. “One of my hobbies is biking, and I was happy to see that this girl could enjoy it even with such circumstances.”
It’s this drive to help patients and bring happiness that prompted El Kosseifi to dedicate himself to neurology.
“The potential of neurology really excites me,” El Kosseifi explains. “There are so many things we don’t know about our brains, our nerves, and our muscles. There is room for innovation and for ways to help patients—just like the team at Gillette did for RE.”
Reassurance in several languages
El Kosseifi says his approach to working with a family is to first listen to their concerns. “I want to reassure them that whatever happens, we are going to find a solution together,” he says.
El Kosseifi has strong communication skills. He speaks English, French, and Arabic. He was born in the Middle East and did part of his medical training in Brussels and Paris. He was a postdoctoral clinical/research fellow at McGill University in Canada.
As a pediatric neurologist, El Kosseifi cares for patients who have cerebral palsy, epilepsy and seizures, brain injuries, and other neuromuscular conditions. El Kosseifi appreciates the ability to collaborate with the Gillette team of neurosurgeons, rehabilitation therapists, sleep medicine specialists, and other experts.
“There’s a real need for pediatric neurologists to help children,” El Kosseifi adds. “I’m excited to be part of this wonderful team at Gillette Children’s.”
In his spare time El Kosseifi enjoys spending time exploring Minnesota’s natural beauty with his wife and toddler-aged son. “We really want to explore the remote regions of Minnesota,” he explains. “We like the wilderness.”
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