2014 Top Doctor: Blaine Hannafin, MD

Written by PM Staff Category: Profiles Issue: April 2014
Group Limited


Med School/Year Graduated: The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, 2004
Years in Practice: 7

What inspired you to enter the field of emergency medicine?
Being in emergency medicine is the closest thing to being the doctor of my childhood imagination. I’ve been trained to assess and act in critical and emotionally intense situations where time is a luxury that no one can afford.  I really am privileged to do what I do.

How do you cope with the stress of your field?
I work very hard, but I’m able to strike a healthy balance between work and my family life. It wouldn’t be possible without an amazing and supportive spouse!

Why type of injury or trauma do you most often see?
Broken bones. Hands, ribs, ankles and jaws… you name it. There are so many bikes, quads, skateboards and cars that we see broken bones all the time.

What’s the biggest misconception about emergency rooms?
That we can diagnose and fix anything. By design, we are there to screen for and stabilize patients with only the most serious medical or surgical needs. Nearly everything else will get referred to a clinic-based specialist.

You also lecture on climate change. How and why did you become an authority in this field?
I took a 10-week course in the science of climate change through the University of British Columbia that blew my mind, and challenged misconceptions I had about our climate. I try to bring that same sense of wonder and curiosity to the science and climate literacy seminars that I teach through the City of Chandler.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be...”  
An astronomer or a farmer.

You encounter a lot of tragedy in your field, but what’s the happiest or best time you’ve had at work?
Hearing that a 3-year-old who we had resuscitated from full cardiac and respiratory arrest had survived, and was seen playing at a local park with his family. This was, and still is, the most amazing case of my career.