Doctor overcomes challenges to follow dream

May 29, 2009 2:01:05 PM PDT
Dr. Karen Murphy is a family physician in Orland Park. As a child, she lost the use of her legs when she was stricken with polio. But that didn't stop her from following her dream. She overcame her personal challenges to finish medical school and help others.

Three years before a vaccine would rid the world of polio, Karen Murphy was afflicted by it and became a poster child in the campaign to conquer the crippling disease. It was the early 1950's and a lifetime of living with crutches would be her future.

"I do remember my operations," Dr. Dr. Karen Murphy, family practice physician. "I have five major ones for the polio. I've had several others since then so I've had about 11 or 12."

Graduating from Mother Mcauley High School in 1968, she later became a Fulbright scholar. After college she worked as a secretary for six and a half years, then med school.

"I was in my mid thirties, disabled, female, I knew being female wasn't that...any problem any more?but when I graduated in '72 not many women were in med school," said Dr. Murphy.

Dr. Murphy has been a practicing physician for the past 17 years,15 of which she has practiced family medicine at the Palos Immediate Care Center.

On this occasion she visits with Chris Wilke and son Christopher.

"You know I'm just a normal person but I was thinking not too long ago that maybe that is my role in life. I certainly don't set out to do it. But maybe I just maybe that's why I was born," said Dr. Murphy.

Always up beat she is known for her medical limericks set to familiar tunes.


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