Malcolm C. Veidenheimer
1980 to 1981
"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the trial of false friends. To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others. To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child or redeemed social condition or a job well done, to know even one other life has breathed easier because you lived--this is to have succeeded."
Tomorrow my son, Richard, is to use this quotation by Bessie Anderson Stanley as he gives his high school graduation address. Yet surely the expressions here "respect," "appreciation," "job well done," and "one other life breathing easier" are mandates for those of us who have chosen the medical profession for our life's work. Our very calling offers us the soul-satisfying fulfillment expressed by these words, but one cannot bask in the sunshine of such an idyllic life-style without having prepared oneself to accept the awesome responsibilities associated with manipulation of the bodies and minds of sick people.
We, as practitioners of the art and science of medicine, do not achieve this role as a result of some single-standing, God-given talent. The knowledge we possess and the application of this knowledge to the care of the sick patient have not been obtained solely by the individual effort of any one of us but are, rather, the results of an accumulation of information provided by others who have preceded us.