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SAN DIEGO — If you’d seen him, you wouldn’t have known Scott Lippman was living through one of the most harrowing days of his 35-year career.

The veteran oncologist, who directs UC San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center, had been invited to a San Diego life science conference in late February packed with academics, venture capitalists, and biotech bigwigs. As Lippman calmly clicked through slides describing his research on head and neck cancer, few knew he’d arrived exhausted from the emergency room, where he’d been caring for a patient with the same type of cancer he was now talking about.


And no one noticed when his phone buzzed with a jarring message: His patient, James Ault, was being transferred to Lippman’s house. The physician had arranged the move in a bid to help Ault recover in a more comfortable setting than the hospital beds and skilled nursing facilities he’d bounced around for weeks. And Lippman now rushed from the conference to open his home to Ault like a friend — which is how he had come to see him.

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