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A Panegyric to Physicians

Heart Shaped Stethoscope
March 30th is National Doctor’s Day

By Kathy Hubbard

You don’t have to rush to the dictionary. Panegyric is a noun that means lofty writing in praise of a person. And, actually, in this case it’s several persons, starting with the 62 local physicians who are part of Bonner General Health’s active medical staff and the 14 others who either come up a few days a week or when their specialty is required. I’ll honor them on Saturday which is National Doctors Day, will you join me?
I’ve written before about Eudora Brown Almond who was married to a physician and thought it a grand idea to honor doctors by sending greeting cards to living ones and putting red carnations on the graves of those who’d died. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a law to designate March 30 as a national holiday.
n our small county we are very lucky to have such highly trained physicians who practice in such diverse specialties. These doctors are our neighbors, our friends, and unselfishly give back to the community.
“National Doctors Day provides us with an opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication that our physicians demonstrate in the hospital and in our community every day,” BGH CEO Sheryl Rickard said in the March employees’ newsletter.
Rickard spoke about the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sam Uzabel and his role in providing expertise and leadership ensuring quality healthcare. “Specifically, Dr. Uzabel serves as the liaison between the hospital staff and the medical staff.”
As the president of BGH’s medical staff, Dr. Vince Huntsberger’s role is “to oversee the administrative functions of the medical staff, enforce the medical staff bylaws, rules and policies and serve as chairman of the Medical Executive Committee,” Rickard said.
Rickard welcomed seven new physicians to BGH medical staff this year, all of whom bring varied and much-needed skills. “We thank them for the compassionate, professional care they provide each and every day.”
Let’s all say thank you to the newly arrived and loyal veterans who provide excellent healthcare practices to our community. You can consider this your greeting card!
There are many physicians upon whose graves I’d put a red carnation. The first one would be Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine. This man lived 460 to 370 BC, but still today, the Hippocratic Oath serves as the foundation of medicine’s ethics.
The next ones would go to Jonas Salk who believed he could make an effective vaccine against polio and succeeded and another one on Benjamin Spock’s grave who in 1946 wrote the basic bible of baby and child care.
Carnations go to Dr. Charles D. Kelman (1930-2004) who has improved the sight of millions of people by advancing the standard treatment of cataracts, and Dr. George Papanicolaou who invented the revolutionary “Pap” test.
Gastroenterologist Dr. Joseph Kirsner was a pioneer in developing a better understanding of inflammatory bowel disease and was among the first to find a link between ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. Using human genome mapping as a tool to study congenital diseases was fathered by Dr. Victor McKusick who was considered a “medical nomad.”
Flowers for them and also to Helen Brooke Taussig for writing Congenital Malformations of the Heart in 1947. This publication helped establish the field of pediatric cardiology. Dr. Zora Janzekovic’s maverick treatment of burn victims has saved countless lives. And, if you’ve heard of the Apgar score, you know that this standardized tool used to evaluate newborns was developed by Dr. Virginia Apgar.
Everyone gets a red carnation, but a whole bouquet goes to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross for proposing that death be considered a normal part of life and whose book On Death and Dying helped me personally to understand grief and how to accept it. And, a carnation or twelve would certainly go to Dr. Cicely Saunders who dedicated her entire career to the care of the dying and founded the first modern hospice in 1967.
This is my short list, I’m sure you have one too. Needless to say, our lives are improved daily by the inroads made in modern medicine and it’s a good time to be grateful. Happy Doctors Day!
Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.

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