My program has survived a ridiculous and trying week of great loss. Sunday, our former Chairman, a giant in the field of surgery, died. His family was by his side. He has lived a life full of amazing accomplishments. He has touched the lives of many patients, taught many residents who have gone on to accomplish great things of their own. His death was shocking for many of us, others already knew he wasn't well the past few weeks. He is a presence in our department that will be sorely missed. Dr. S, your legacy will live on forever.
Early Monday morning we heard that one of our young budding surgical oncologist died. He died overseas as a visiting scholar - a huge honor that he was so excited about. He was only 42 years old - the always beaming father of three beautiful little girls. His death was completely random and sudden. This was a crushing blow. My second year I spent nearly my entire oncology rotation doing breast cases with this attending. Listening to all three of Shaquille O'Neal's albums (yes I said THREE!!) and he knew all the words. Again, let me repeat - He knew ALL the words. We bantered over our Eagles/Cowboys rivalry. Last year when the Eagles beat the Cowboys I wallpapered his office with "Fly, Eagles, Fly" posters. One year I operated with him after the Cowboys beat the Eagles and he wore his Cowboys hat and lanyard and brought cowboys paraphernalia into the OR just to taunt me. He swore by the wall of 4-0's in his mastectomy closure, a move I've probably complained about but will likely follow someday in by own breast onc practice, which I plan to specialize in. I talked to him briefly about my career plans, we were waiting to sit down and plan this year. I haven't operated with him in the last couple of years but I have an Eagles hat waiting and specially made just for this purpose. 700 patients. There has been immense outpouring of love and disbelief from his patients. So many lives saved. I pray that his girls will always know that their father's life was lived with purpose and meaning. People can live 100 years and not touch a fraction of the women and men who have been cured, supported and cared for him. I hope they will always remember the times they did have with their father. I want them to know that he bragged about them constantly, that he lit up every moment he spoke about them, that he inspired us to see how the love of parenting and doctoring could go hand in hand. He put them first. You were his heart - his girls and his beautiful wife. He was so proud of all of you. Dr. A, our hearts are breaking, you will be greatly missed.