They save our lives, birth our children, and sit with us when we die. They ease our pain, hear our concerns, and celebrate our healing. Doctors. They build their lives around helping us, and now, especially now, they deserve all we have to offer.
I grew up with a small-town doc, and I can still see his face. He helped bring me and my brothers into the world, helped my mom through post-partum depression and removed my brother’s appendix. He even pierced my ears. He lived just up the hill. Since his passing, my mother has acquired a new physician. One that cares for both her and her new husband, and my brother. He was there when my dad died, when my brother shot a nail through his thumb and when he fell off a roof. My brother built his house.
If you’re younger than me, and if you live in a larger city, it might seem difficult to find the emotional connection a long-time, small-town family physician can provide. The many medical specialties, from the pediatrician who sees your children and the hospitalist who cares only for hospitalized patients, to the surgeon you’ve been referred to, can sometimes be hard to track. High-tech medicine can seem like it’s replaced high touch care. But watch the nightly news, and you know the opposite is true.
Through this pandemic, and in so many ways, physicians put their patients first. They sacrifice sleep and family time. They study to learn more about your case, and they ask us for the equipment they know their patients need. While we might not see them as often as we like, they are there, in the background, always working hard to assure your health. And everywhere, people see and understand the significant role that physicians play in our lives.
In Canada, National Physician’s Day is celebrated on May 1. The date was chosen in recognition Dr. Emily Stowe, the first female physician to practice in Canada. In Egypt, March 18 marks Egyptian Doctors’ Day, which coincides with the inauguration of the first medical school in 1827. Turkey celebrates Medicine Day, and in Cuba, Doctors’ Day commemorates the birthday of Cuban physician, Dr. Carlos Juan Findley, a pioneer in yellow fever research.
Here in the United States, the first Doctors’ Day was first celebrated on March 30th, 1933. The idea came from Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond. The chosen date was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthesia in surgery. On March 30, 1842, in Jefferson, Georgia, Dr. Crawford Long used ether to anesthetize a patient, James Venable, and painlessly excised a tumor from his neck. To celebrate, people sent greeting cards, hosted formal dinners, and remembered physicians at the gravesite with flowers. Since then, Doctors’ Day has become synonymous with recognition of those who treat and watch over us in sickness and in health.
Where would you be without your doctor? How would your life be different? Do you have a favorite physician? If so, use this March 30th to lift them up and let them know how important they are to you. Make a gift in their honor to the Miller-Dwan Foundation, and we’ll convey your appreciation for you. Your gift will go to the department of your choice and will be pooled with other resources to help do what doctors do best.