Midtown History: Caroline Zlotnik
Interviewed by Stepheny McGraw

Photo by Sharon Fox
Caroline Zlotnick dates her days in Palo Alto back to the time she began dating her husband David. They met at Stanford in 1958, when he was in medical school and she was in the nursing school there. Their lives together and her life during his illness and since his death have never been far from the field of medicine.

David and Caroline were married in 1960 and lived in Stanford Village in Menlo Park at the old army hospital behind where SRI stands now. Their first son, Brad, was born in 1961 at Stanford Hospital.

After they graduated from Stanford in 1962, they moved East. David started his internship at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. The following year, they went to Boston Children's Hospital for David's pediatric residency, and Caroline worked as a pediatric oncology nurse. Their second son, Greg was born in Boston in 1964

Then, it was back to California, where they lived in Midtown on Sutter Court while David finished his pediatric residency at Stanford. Following completion of his residency in 1965, they went to Oakland where David completed his two year military obligation at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. During this time, the Public Health Department in Oakland was facing an epidemic of both diphtheria and whooping cough, so Caroline went back to nursing.

David opened his pediatric practice in July of 1967 on Middlefield Road at Loma Verde. They bought their first house - an Eichler - on Marshall Drive. While David's practice grew, Caroline served on the PTA, participating in the PAUSD elementary school closures including the Ross Road School. She also volunteered at Planned Parenthood and served as treasurer for all four of Becky Morgan's political campaigns (PAUSD School Board, Santa Clara County Supervisor, State Assembly, and State Senate).

David and Caroline volunteered for 18 years for INTERPLAST traveling to Mexico, Central and South America. Together they traveled the Baltic, Mediterranean, North Sea, Black Sea, and to China, Japan, the Philippines and Singapore. On these trips, David took compelling pictures of the people, mostly the children, that he met. Many of those photos lined the walls of his Middlefield office.

In 1986, David was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. He developed multiple complications following surgery and spent five weeks in the ICU. Afterwards, he went to Mills Hospital and later Mills Outpatient Department for rehabilitation. Friends and neighbors lined up to help with carpools to take him to and from treatments. While David did manage a partial recovery, he was not able to go back to his private practice. He worked part time at Moffett Field dispensary and Kaiser Urgent Care. In 1993, the tumor returned, and he underwent additional surgery followed by radiation. A few years later, he began having mini strokes which continued until his death in 2002.

Brad went to Harvard. After his father's surgery in 1986, he went to Stanford Medical School and is now an Emergency Room physician in San Diego at Sharp Hospital. Greg attended Wesleyan, where he wrote his honors thesis on California water politics. This set the course for his well known tenure in the water district. Greg is also a graduate of Hasting Law School and has served on numerous Regional and State Water Agencies and Boards.

Nursing, as it is today and as it should be tomorrow, remains a passionate interest for Caroline. Because of the crisis and shortage of nurses and nurse educators and the rapid changes taking place in healthcare; she and fellow Stanford Nurse Alumnae are currently pursuing the possibility of re-establishing the nursing school at Stanford in order to provide the rich resources of the University to the nursing profession.

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