Summer 2017

Three Questions with Dr. Harold N. Bornstein

A specialist in internal medicine and gastroenterology, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, A68, M75, is the medical director of HNB Endoscopy and also a private practice in Manhattan: Jacob Bornstein, MD Harold N. Bornstein, MD, PC, which was started by his father at Lenox Hills Hospital more than thirty years ago. 

Tufts Medicine: Nineteen members of your extended family attended Tufts over the years. What meaning does this history hold for you?

Dr. Harold N. Bornstein: I am proud of our Tufts legacy. The family immigrated to Boston from Eastern Europe and became enormously successful in the men’s clothing business. They were the owners and founders of the famous Malcolm Kenneth overcoat company in Boston. They and we are grateful that Tufts was there for us. At the medical school, Tufts gave its students a lot. Most important, though, it taught us not to be arrogant.

TM: You’ve enjoyed close relationships with many of your patients for decades now. What is the value of these bonds, and how do you sustain them?

HB: After my family, my patients are the most valuable people in my world. I love and respect them. The warmth between us stokes the relationship. We get a kick out of each other. I experience their lives with them, sharing happiness and sometimes sadness. I have never and will never take advantage of anyone’s wealth or lack thereof.

We have managed to run a concierge medical practice for more than 50 years years without any contracts with patients or any extra fees. However, my greatest successes have been avoiding managed-care medicine and refusing to have the conservative beard and haircut that my parents thought was necessary for success.

TM: Many of your patients are well-known public figures. Does being the doctor of a celebrity require any special skills or sensitivities?

HB: Not really. The most important skill is to be conscious of my obligation to my patients. Privacy and confidentiality are guaranteed. I am always myself with patients. I treat government officials, police detectives, counts, Wall Street financiers, real estate moguls, neighbors and friends. I am not judgmental about anyone; what they “do” doesn’t matter. As a native New Yorker, my familiarity with many professions, cultures and ethnic origins allows me to relate well with anyone.

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