March 01, 2013

David Bradley, MD: Pediatric electrophysiologist, hobbyist

David Bradley, MD
What do you do at UMHS?

I’m a pediatric electrophysiologist, a specialist in problems of the heart rhythm in young patients. I’m the director of heart rhythm care at U-M’s C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital. It is my job to insert pacemakers and other heart rhythm devices when children need them, and to perform catheter procedures to correct their heart rhythms.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

My work allows me to meet infants, adults and everyone in between. Some of my patients are very seriously ill and others are not only healthy but very athletic. For many of my patients, their treatment allows them improved health and life quality. I enjoy this variety and overall positive environment. 

When you’re not working, what do you do?

I have two daughters whose music, sports and other projects keep me busy quite aside from work. I also have a lot of hobbies, like photography, foreign languages and cooking. I also like to run and bicycle.

What moment in the lab stands out as the most memorable?

Special moments in the lab for me have often involved combining the good ideas of several specialists to achieve a great result for a patient. I also love to hear back from my patients. One girl on whom I performed a procedure years ago recently joined me in the hospital to observe. She will be applying to medical school.

Who had the greatest influence on your career path?

A Michigan electrophysiologist, Dr. Macdonald Dick, has been my greatest professional inspiration. I learned from him that new technologies must be applied and understood. He always reminds me that with imagination and innovation it is possible to do things that others have not succeeded in. He and I have been partners in many complex procedures over the years.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

When I was young and wanted to do things just like other kids, my mother used to say, “Dare to be different, Dave!” I know she was right.

What are you currently reading?

I like fiction. Stories that are well written are a great adventure for me, whether they be classics, by Dickens and Balzac, or modern works by Iris Murdoch or T. C. Boyle.

What’s the most thrilling or adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Before I did my training in cardiology, my wife and I went to a very small town in Ecuador for nearly a year. We were the only pediatricians in this remote town and had to learn Spanish quickly to take care of the kids there. It was hard at times but we made lots of friends and when it was over we were sorry to leave.