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If you look carefully, you will notice that staff members in the Colorectal Center each wear a multi-colored, fish-shaped pin. This is the story of how the rainbow fish came to have special significance to our Center.
In Marcus Pfister’s children’s book, "The Rainbow Fish," the main character is a fish whose scales incorporate all of the colors of the rainbow. He is bright and beautiful, and admired by all of the other fish in the ocean whose scales have no color at all. One day, the rainbow fish is approached by one of these fish and asked if he might have one of the rainbow fish’s colored scales. Willingly, the rainbow fish gives one of his colors away. Word spreads among the other fish in the ocean, and they each begin approaching the rainbow fish about receiving one of his colors. The rainbow fish obliges. Eventually, the rainbow fish gives away all of his colors and the ocean is full of beautiful fish of all shades.
It has been suggested that Dr. Alberto Pena is like the rainbow fish. He is committed to educating others about pediatric colorectal problems and their treatment and management, and has done so by hosting educational courses for physicians and other medical professionals and by traveling around the world to perform surgeries. Since most patients seen at the Colorectal Center are from outside the Cincinnati area, both Dr. Peña and Dr. Marc Levitt welcome and even encourage the physicians of patients they are treating from around the country and around the world to come to Cincinnati to assist in the patients’ surgeries so that they will be better equipped to manage these patients upon their return home, and will receive education about how to diagnose and treat future children. The Colorectal Center also supports a fellowship for surgeons interested in learning specifically about pediatric colorectal problems. So surgeons, other doctors, nurses, residents, parents, and children are recipients of a rainbow colored scale that Dr. Pena has generously “given out” throughout his career.
The Atlas of Surgical Management of Anorectal Malformations states that “All attempts at classifying congenital defects run the risk of becoming arbitrary, because it must always be remembered that the surgeon is dealing with a spectrum.” Like the color spectrum, colorectal problems occur along a spectrum – from fairly simple and straightforward to more complicated and complex. And the interventions required to treat them will vary depending on the type of malformation.
And, finally fish have a cloaca, a complicated defect that occurs in girls.
These are the reasons why the rainbow fish is an ideal symbol for our colorectal center.
For more information or to request an appointment for the Colorectal Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, please contact us.
The Story of the Rainbow Fish
Read the story of the Rainbow Fish in German in portable document format (.pdf)
Read the story of the Rainbow Fish in Russian in portable document format (pdf).
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