CHOC wants its patients and families to get to know its specialists. Today, meet Dr. Laura Totaro, a pediatric hospitalist at CHOC, as well as CHOC at Mission Hospital. After attending Loma Linda University Medical School, Dr. Totaro was part of the first pediatrics residency class through the University of California Irvine and CHOC. She has been on staff at CHOC for three years.
What are your administrative appointments?
I am the hospitalist representative for both the CHOC at Mission Hospital Intensive Care Committee and the CHOC Infection Prevention Committee.
What are your special clinical interests?
I am most interested in infectious disease and autoimmune disorders.
What are your most common diagnoses?
Seizures, asthma, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and gastroenteritis/dehydration.
What would you most like community/referring providers to know about you or your division at CHOC?
In an effort to better facilitate transfer of care, we now offer 24/7 hospitalist coverage at both CHOC campuses.
What inspires you most about the care being delivered here at CHOC?
The CHOC community provides a unique focus on healthcare for kids that goes beyond just the basics. The entire care team including the doctors, nurses and additional staff who strive to provide personalized care that not only treats a physical illness but also addresses the needs of the entire family. I am inspired by the culture of physicians and nurses that are constantly learning and trying to provide the best care they possibly can. It is such a pleasure to work in a place where everyone seems to truly enjoy their job and are trying to find ways to be even better at them.
Why did you decide to become a doctor?
I grew up in a healthcare-focused community where I was exposed to medicine from a young age. I was inspired by the doctors around me and was fascinated by the human body. I also wanted a career that would allow me to help others here in my immediate community and abroad.
If you weren’t a physician, what would you be and why?
I would run a travel blog and be a food critic.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
Travel, exploring new restaurants, art, and music.
What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever told you?
I was examining the mouth of my patient when he proudly showed me his loose tooth and whispered to me that his family had a secret. He then excitedly admitted that his mom was the tooth fairy! His mother looked at me quizzically and then burst out laughing when she realized what had taken place. Earlier she had admitted to him that she played the role of tooth fairy at home but her son took this quite literally and believed it to actually be her secret full-time job for all children.