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Thomas J. Miner, MD
So much has happened since we last gathered. Everyone has been affected by current events that even would seem unbelievable if part of some dystopian novel or movie. But they are real, and, despite the words of the prognosticators we hear in the media, government, or even lurking in the OR, no one can truly predict how this will work out. Whether itís dealing with infectious disease, public health, personal safety, social justice and equity, citizenship, essential vs. non-essential jobs, baseball in empty stadiums, or whatever additional challenge we must face, we do not know where this journey through such unchartered territory will land us. Like many of you, I suspect, I struggle with the disturbing and unsettling realities.
Several times before in this column, Iíve shared the belief that surgeons possess a special ability to be comfortable in the uncomfortable, and this skill allows us to serve in diverse and meaningful ways. I find this thought uniquely comforting, especially in particularly hard times. I believe in and appreciate the surgeonís capacity to do this and I am proud that surgical training and practice have incorporated it into my soul. It is a point of departure much more productive and effective than fear, anger, guilt, or helplessness. Through this surgical lens I have been moved and humbled by the care, courage, and skill shown by residents and staff. Iíve witnessed leadership and cooperation from my friends and colleagues that have both humbled and inspired me. Although no more certain, my hope for the future is much more positive when I encounter fellow surgeons from around the community, region, and country. When we share our common surgical voice, we are better positioned to be more than just a popular hashtag. We are truly #strongertogether.
I look forward to our next meeting. It will be different. By now, though, we all understand and practice the etiquette of the virtual meeting (mute when listening, un-mute and speak up!). But the value and rewards of sharing time, knowledge, and fellowship will continue to bring familiar rewards. Until then, stay safe and letís stay strong together.
Thomas J. Miner, MD