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Karam Abdul Karim Al-Shaikhly, MD

Karam Abdul Karim Al-Shaikhly, MD

Primary Care Physician
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Belvis

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In the South Bronx, Small Touches Create Strong Bonds

Iraqi-born and British-trained, Dr. Karam Abdul Karim Al-Shaikhly often sees a lot of the best of universal healthcare at NYC Health + Hospitals: “We treat everybody. We don’t look at insurance. We don’t discriminate. We treat everyone and I love it.”

The other universality comes from the patients’ side. “I love that you never know what’s coming through the door. It can be anything. I like the general knowledge of being a general physician, the holistic approach. And it comes with this beautiful privilege of being seen by them as ‘my doctor.’ We’re not the only doctor they see. But we’re often the only doctor they know.”

Those connections create bonds among family — a patient recommends Dr. Al-Shaikhly to their cousin or brings in their spouse or sibling or child. It’s a lot of small touches. “I believe in the little things that you can add — the little details — to make a difference,” she says. “With doctors who see all the details of your life, you may not need to see a hospital. Health and happiness are made of small moments, the little things in life.”

What kinds of little things? 

Listening, for one. “A lot of people don’t have anyone to listen to them,” she says. “They think they’re depressed but they just need to be heard. You listen a few times, they recover.”

Or respect. “I see a lot of patients who just got out of jail, homeless, living in a shelter, going through a rough time. They don’t expect respect. Give them hope and a little bit of positivity, and they flourish.”

Aside from medicine, her specialty is putting the icing on the cake. Literally. While discussing her passion for baking, she can go into detailed description about the differences between frosting and mere buttercream. And she uses that knowledge and passion to make beautifully elaborate cakes that look like a wreath or melting candles or snowmen. They’re a big hit with her three children: a 13-year-old, a one-year-old, and a baby due in September.

She’s humble about both her professionalism and her creativity. “We all study the same science,” she says. “But how we do things varies. That’s where the icing on the cake becomes important.”

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