I met Paul Fleiss in 1977 during my residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. There weren't a lot of vegetarian doctors who advocated breastfeeding for every baby and mother nearly 40 years ago, and he and I hit it off immediately.
He was the most courageous doctor I had met up to then and 37 years later he remains the most courageous doctor I've ever known.
His warmth and intelligence were evident from the first few words one would exchange with him. Paul cared for high-profile families, as news stories are noting, but he also gave free medical care to families who could not get care anywhere else.
Any obituaries focusing on the troubles he had in his life are misguided. He overcame all those problems and remained a mentor to dozens of doctors. And the doctor for thousands and thousands of families.
Harvey Karp started in Paul's office and I also was fortunate enough to spend my first five years in private practice in Paul's office. I learned more about caring for babies and families than anywhere before or since. Paul trained another dozen doctors or more in his office and we all went off to have careers that were fulfilling and tremendously enhanced by the time we spent in the wonderful office on Hillhurst Avenue.
Dr. Fleiss was a brilliant physician and teacher and cared for tens of thousands of babies over his five decades in pediatrics. He will be missed.