Helping Patients Breathe Easier

Helping Patients Breathe Easier

An unplanned encounter at a Richland restaurant changed the course of pulmonary care in the Tri-Cities area. 

In 2013, Katherine Cayetano, MD, was deciding where to begin practicing as a pulmonologist.  Her parents lived on the west side of Washington, so the northwest was a draw.  She had interviewed with a hospital in Tacoma, and then with Kadlec.  After that Kadlec interview Dr. Cayetano, who was living in California at the time, ventured to downtown Richland where she stopped to eat at the former Cheese Louise. While there, a woman noticed she was eating alone, and asked to join Dr. Cayetano.  Their conversation led to Dr. Cayetano’s reason for being in the Tri-Cities.  The woman, whose name Dr. Cayetano no longer remembers, told her all the wonderful things about living in the Tri-Cities. She even paid for Dr. Cayetano’s lunch and wished her well.

“I saw it as a sign that this is where I should be,” she said. 

An early desire to help
Dr. Cayetano grew up in the Philippines and in a culture where cigarette smoking was common. Because of this, she was surrounded by people who struggled with chronic lung issues.  She saw firsthand how it impacted their lives.  

“So earlier on, I really wanted to do or to be part of some sort of service profession,” she said. “I became a doctor because of my experiences with family members who have had chronic lung disease. It pushed me to where I am right now.”

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