“We could have easily missed it, but a thorough exam helped save her life.”

Sumaira Arain and Suleman Iqbal

During medical school and early on in their careers, husband and wife medical doctors, Sumaira Arain and Suleman Iqbal would go up to 48 hours without seeing one another. Now both work at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah, and it’s easier to make time to see each other. They’re finally at the stage of life where they can focus more on their personal lives, their daughter, and the joy they find in helping patients.


Sumaira Arain: That was a very stressful and challenging time in our young married life. We had our first child, Sophia, who was born in 2010. We were living apart for three years, but we were able to come for one week at a time every month to California to visit, to spend time with Sophia, to still maintain that relationship while I finished my pediatric training in California.

Suleman Iqbal: It was about time to decide what would be the next step in our life. That's what brought us to Intermountain. You only live once, and you might as well take chances, and I think the last two or three years that we've been here, for me professionally, it's been rewarding. It's been an incredible experience being able to help people with their sleep disorders and improve their quality of life and their general happiness during the day.

Sumaira Arain: Just at the same time as we were moving, the pediatric program here was starting up their hospitalist program, and I was able to join their team, which worked out really well. I think it's helped us both working in the same hospital, although our paths do not cross barely at all.

Suleman Iqbal: There were times when we wouldn't really see each other for 24 to 48 hours. But working here gives us a flexibility to be able to enjoy life, go away on vacation, and I think we're finally at that stage where we can focus on our personal lives more, versus always worrying about med school or residency or training or all that doctor stuff. Now it's the gravy time where I enjoy seeing patients, I enjoy helping them. I'm sure you have some stories.

Sumaira Arain: One particular case comes to mind where there was a young girl who came in, hadn't been feeling well, just some general malaise and having a sore throat, signs of infection on her blood work but nothing that really pointed to anything in particular. When she got to the pediatric floor, I went in to take a look at her. I was just lifting her hair to feel her lymph nodes and noticed that one side of her neck looked dramatically larger than the other side. And so I asked the dad to take a look at her, and I'm like, "Has she always looked like this?" He said, "No." We ended up getting an ultrasound done and did find that she had an abscess that had been growing there, and that was the cause of her not feeling well. But the most worrisome thing was that it was very close to her carotid artery and jugular vein. We got the surgeon on board and were very fortunate. We could have easily missed it, but a good, thorough physical exam helped catch it. And I think it really helped save her life.