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From 5 South / Oncology: Photographs from Children's Hospital Oakland
Aubrey M. and her Mom

"Aubrey and her mom would pretend that Aubrey was a nurse and she would put on her play stethoscope. Nurses always have their page of notes folded up, and usually stick them in their back pockets. One day I couldn't find my notes. I finally saw them folded up and stuck in the back of Aubrey's diaper."

--Aubrey's Nurse

Tanya and her Mom

"Tanya was nearing the end of her life; in her usual outspoken manner she said to me, 'I can't wait until you die, Dr. V.' Stunned, I asked her why. 'Because I want to see you and my grandma in heaven.'"

--Tanya's Oncologist

Frances and her Mom

"One of Frances' primary goals was to graduate from high school. She accom-
plished that and retained the amazingly vibrant spirit of a teenager throughout the difficulties.

The last time I saw her she was very sick. Her cancer was advancing despite years of treatment and periods of remission.But she was propped up in bed with a mirror on her lap, trying on new colors of make-up and putting barrettes in her hair."

--Frances' Social Worker
Aubrey R. and his Grandfather

"Aubrey's grandparents were his primary support system. They had already taken on the responsibility to raise Aubrey and his siblings several years earlier. There were plenty of problems that existed before Aubrey's cancer diagnosis: financial and transportation difficulties, the absence of Aubrey's parents. The toll these stressors took on this elderly couple was painfully evident, but they stepped right up to the job."

--Aubrey's Social Worker

Diane Malek

5 South / Oncology
Photographs from Children's
Hospital Oakland

December 8 to January 28, 2006

28 black & white photographs
Soft Cover book

I was a social worker on 5 South, the oncology unit of Children's Hospital Oakland, for eight years. We went through the day as if working there were the most normal thing in the world, while keeping our hearts open and being as compassionate and emotionally connected as we could tolerate.

 I began to take photographs of what I saw in the hospital rooms. Later in the quiet of my own darkroom, I would watch the images reappear on the paper in the chemical trays...

Chronicle/Carlos Avila Gonzales

Contact Diane Malek

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page last modified on 12/14/16

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