April 9, 2021

‘We Try to Lose the Tie and White Coat and Meet Kids on Their Own Level’

Going into the office of the chief of pediatric urology at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in Loma Linda, California, United States, one sees a picture of Jesus standing behind a surgeon in the operating room, guiding his hands. David Chamberlin said this picture, given to him when he first began working at Children’s Hospital, is representative of his journey in medicine.

Chamberlin grew up in southern California, married his high-school sweetheart, graduated with a master’s in biochemistry from Brigham Young University (BYU) and his medical degree from the University of California Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine, and completed residency at UCI Medical Center. During his first year of practice, Chamberlin was invited to be part of a medical mission trip to Damascus, Syria. Unbeknownst to him, his role during the trip would be to conduct several complicated pediatric urologic surgeries.

“I prayed for guidance on that first day, and Jesus led me,” Chamberlin said. “That experience was a week of miracles. I was simply holding the instruments, hands being guided, and doing things I’d never done or seen before.”

That trip was one of Chamberlin’s first ties to Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) after meeting and befriending Anees Razzouk, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at LLUH. In 2008, after careful prayer and consideration, Chamberlin accepted the offer to head pediatric urology at Children’s Hospital.

Since then, he has helped the division grow to four pediatric urologists and four nurse practitioners, caring for patients throughout the southern California region known as the Inland Empire. Additionally, his team conducts many telemedicine visits.

Chamberlin helps to oversee and facilitate his team’s care of the full range of pediatric urologic conditions and anomalies, with minimally invasive techniques including the robot, treating various conditions such as hypospadias, undescended testis, inguinal hernia, circumcision, vesicoureteral reflux, urinary tract obstructions, urinary tract infections, voiding dysfunction, and much more.

“In all areas of pediatrics, we try to lose the tie and the white coat and meet kids on their own level,” Chamberlin said. “Our patients do really well — one of the blessings of operating on kids is they’re so resilient and positive.” 

Chamberlin said he has relished the opportunity to work for a faith-based institution. “Just like the ‘Good Samaritan’ statue that sits outside the medical school, Christ’s parable speaks to me to ‘Go and do thou likewise,’” he said. “That’s what sets this place apart for me — that Christ-centered focus to make man whole. I love that.”

One of the highlights of his career has been working with his son Joshua, who started medical school at Loma Linda University the same year Chamberlin began working for the hospital. Joshua joined his father as a pediatric urologist for Children’s Hospital in 2019.

“Just the other day, we operated on a patient, and my son was assisting me,” Chamberlin said. “It was just such a career highlight for me. Here I am, 61 years old, working together with my son.”

Chamberlin said his time at Children’s Hospital has allowed him to continue his medical journey while enjoying time with his family — his wife of 40 years, six kids, and sixteen grandkids.

“I look back on my career, and I see this pathway where Jesus has led me,” he said. “I am so grateful for my family, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work at an institution where I get to be a disciple of Christ and become more like Him.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Loma Linda University Health news site.