“I am a dinosaur with the latest generation iPhone,” quips Arnold W. Goldschlager, M.D., a consulting cardiologist for Mills-Peninsula Medical Center since 1970.
Dr. Goldschlager enjoys a remarkable career that spans five decades of amazing medical advances and a life brimming with adventure. “I have been fortunate to witness this art, this science called medicine, from the horse and buggy days to the space age.”
This heart doctor is also an avid boater, supporter of the arts, writer, expert marksman and world-class sportsman, having hunted across six different continents and completed 10 African safaris.
Still in active practice in his 70s, with offices in Burlingame and Daly City, Dr. Goldschlager shows no sign of slowing down. He has dedicated his life to helping people battle high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure and many other forms of heart disease.
Now, through a $100,000 philanthropic gift to the Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation dedicated to the Dorothy E. Schneider Cancer Center, Dr. Goldschlager also will be helping people fight cancer - an act inspired by his own life-threatening experience.
A Rich Half-Century
Board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, Dr. Goldschlager received his undergraduate degree at Union College in New York in 1959 and his medical degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He performed his residency at Columbia University, Bellevue Division, and had fellowships in cardiology at Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco.
In 1970, Dr. Goldschlager became a member of the UCSF clinical faculty where he still continues to teach as an associate clinical professor. He also served as chief of medicine in the United States Air Force at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan.
Among his distinguished professional accomplishments, Dr. Goldschlager is one of the founders of Air Ambulance, Inc. in Hawaii and California, and has served on its board for a decade. His resume also includes an extensive list of societies, honors, publications and clinical trials.
Dr. Goldschlager is married to Nora Fox, M.D., a distinguished academic cardiologist and a full professor at UCSF. The couple has two daughters: Hilary, a paramedic and swim coach, and Nina, a science editor at a major scientific publishing house.
Looking back at how medicine was practiced 40 years ago, Dr. Goldschlager says, “I remember how we would agonize over a patient with 'unclear' abdominal pain, examining the abdomen over and over, rechecking lab tests, ultimately having to decide if the patient needed to go to surgery.”
In those times, he explains, a doctor depended heavily on clinical judgment – a keenly advanced sense of touch, sight, sound and smell gradually sharpened over hundreds of hours listening to the body and learning its subtleties.
Today, advanced imaging technology allows doctors to peer inside their patients to make their diagnoses. While Dr. Goldschlager has welcomed these advances into his own practice, he says “a doctor's clinical judgment is still the critical factor in patient care.”
Other technological leaps that have improved medical care that Dr. Goldschlager has witnessed in his career include: electrical cardioversion to treat atrial and ventricular fibrillation; implantable cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators; balloon angioplasty; coronary stents; ablation of arrhythmias; coronary angiography; cardiac surgery; and the development of cardiac ultrasound and nuclear and magnetic resonance techniques.
He has also been fortunate to have known and worked with many of the pioneers of these remarkable advances.
“It's been an exciting ride to see and participate in the evolution of medicine over the last half century," Dr. Goldschlager says. “The medical world is now a better place as our diagnoses and treatments have become more precise.”
Commitment to Giving
In addition to their generous gifts to Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation, the Goldschlagers also are active supporters of the Mzuri Wildlife Foundation, Union and Barnard Colleges, the San Francisco Symphony and numerous local theatre and ballet companies.
Dr. Goldschlager’s introduction to philanthropy started early in life.
“I started out in life with very little,” he says. “But my parents taught me the tradition of philanthropy. The Hebrew word for it is ‘tzedakah’ which means ‘charity.’ So in our house, there was a tzedakah box – a little piggy bank. No matter how poor you were, we believed that there was always something you could give. That's how I grew up and, to this day, for Nora and me, giving back is a part of life.”
When facing prostate cancer and lymphoma, Dr. Goldschlager could have received treatment anywhere in the Bay Area, but he chose Mills-Peninsula.
“Between Nora and me, we have connections to the oncology departments at UCSF as well as Stanford. But I chose to stay at Mills-Peninsula because I have practiced here for 43 years, and I know the quality of our oncologists and radiation professionals. Also, at this point in time, our cancer center has the same modern technology and care equal to any university.”
Dr. Goldschlager's Community Involvement
- Mzuri Wildlife Foundation, Board of Directors, 2013 - present
- Oncology Council, Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation, 2012 - present
- Mzuri Safari Club, Board of Directors, 2012 - present
- Tinsley Island, St. Francis Yacht Club, Board of Directors, 2011 - present
- Rich Island Duck Club, Board of Directors, 2009 - present
- Safari Club International, Bay Area Chapter, Board of Directors, 1995 - 2000
- Air Ambulance, Inc., Board of Directors, 1976 - 1986