At age 8, Kellie Lim spent four months inside hospital walls recovering from advanced bacterial meningitis that claimed both legs, one arm and three fingertips. Eighteen years later she is back in that familiar setting—on the other end of the stethoscope, as a doctor treating children. "I had my doubts," Lim, 26, admits. "I wondered if my patients—or, rather, the parents of my patients—would see me as an authoritative figure because of my disabilities." Doubt no more. Last month Lim graduated from UCLA's medical school near the top of her class, without accommodations or fanfare, says Neil Parker, a med-school dean. "Yes, she will encounter challenges as a doctor. And, no, she couldn't be a neurosurgeon. But there are many other specialties in which she can excel." Lim began her three-year residency at the university's Mattel Children's Hospital by welcoming the children's innocent candor, routinely answering questions such as, "Why does your hand look weird?" "It's a little different from yours," she smiles reassuringly at her curious charges. "But it's my hand, and it's a good hand."
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