MARGARET ARANDA, MD, PhD
Dr. Margaret Aranda is a Keck USC medical school graduate, and Stanford alumni of anesthesiology and critical care. She was also trained in Forensic and Age Management Medicine. Her dedication to knowledge and our Veterans started as President of the Pre-Med Club at the Sepulveda VA in California.
The second oldest of seven children, and at age 13, she served as a little mom to her siblings. She picked garlic with migrant farm workers in Gilroy, California during this time. At age 16, she tested out of high school and by age 19, she gained California State licensure in both cosmetology and real estate.
During college, she won multiple scholarships, including the National Foundation for Biochemical Research Award. Working on immunofluorescence of the sea urchin blastocyte in the California State University, Northridge laboratory of Stephen B. Oppenheimer, Ph.D. set the stage for her future research career.
After gaining her medical license, Dr. Aranda worked as Emergency Department physician at Ft. Irwin National Training Center for the United States Army, the Coalinga Regional Medical Center, and several Urgent Care centers throughout California.
During anesthesiology training, Dr. Aranda’s first published manuscript was a Rapid Communication in Neuroscience. She then published several research papers with Ronald G. Pearl, MD, PhD, for work done as a Stanford critical care Fellow. After anesthesiology and critical care training at Stanford, her first job was Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Continuing with critical care research and the use of nitric oxide for acute pulmonary hypertension, Dr. Margaret Aranda continued both clinical and bench research, teaching novel methods of patient management, especially the treatment of hypernatremic, hypochloremic metabolic acidosis, the use of furosemide continuous infusion for pre-renal failure, and the interpretation of arterial blood gases. She also did several demographic ethnic studies to characterize patient populations. One of her greatest joys was working with nurses, whose knowledge and experience were refreshing.
Dr Margaret Aranda wrote over 3 million dollars in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants for the use of hyperpolarized 3Helium-MRI of the lungs.
She rose to the position of Interim Chief, Department of Anesthesiology at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center. She was well known for her positions and defense of policies and protocols to ensure the safety of our Veterans while under anesthesia or during procedures in the Emergency Department. During 911, she volunteered to do either Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, or Critical Care in whatever makeshift ED, OR, or ICU that was needed. Her academic credentials earned positions as Assistant Professor of both Anesthesiology and Radiology, first at the University of Pennsylvania, and later at David Geffen Medical School at UCLA.
While Chief of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, she continued to lecture and serve as an unrelenting champion for patient safety.
In 2006, she and her daughter were tragically hit in a car accident involving a distracted driver. Multiple ER and doctor visits later, she still had no diagnosis. She was told that her symptoms were, “All in your head.” As a patient, at the mercy of medical professionals, she found the system unsympathetic to complicated cases that were lessor known.
Patient and physician grew frustrated.
When she happened upon Dr. David S. Cannom at Good Samaritan Hospital, he immediately tested her, diagnosed her with dysautonomia (dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that does everything ‘automatic’ like control heart rate, blood pressure, and food digestion), performed drug trials, and allowed her to live with an IV PICC line for over three years. Eventually, Dr. Aranda came off the IV only to learn how to further survive. Bedridden for twelve years, she is a prolific writer and advocate for invisible illnesses, women’s health and patient safety. Now a trauma survivor, her near-death experience solidified her spirituality and faith in God.
She suffered additional personal blows that led her to her own prescription for a retreat, long enough to get her life back together, both figuratively and literally. Now a strong and almost lone proponent of immunonutrition and alternative medicine, she is off all prescribed daily medication regimens. She strives to impart her knowledge to both empower and motivate individuals whose lives seem easily lost to ‘the system.’ She is considered by many different patient populations to be “one of us.” Known for her positivity and her smile, Dr. Aranda encourages others to, “Keep Moving Onward & Forward!”
She has authored more than a handful of scientific manuscripts and books, and has presented research in several major countries. Her social media presence impressions top 3 million viewers a month. Her latest book, The Rebel Patient, describes the “inner circle” story of what patients have to go through when they have an invisible illness that stumps the doctors.
Her current passions are teen mindfulness, medical device safety (i.e., the power morcellator, Essure, and vaginal mesh), FDA black box warnings, apologetics in response to medical error, aging, and minimalism. Find her on Twitter @TheRebelPatient, and as she says, “Fight for your diagnosis.”
The correct diagnosis, that is.