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eDocTalk article

Making a difference — it’s what we do

June 2013

Lewis Low, M.D.

In this column I typically speak to you in my role as an administrator (yes, it’s still hard to call myself that). And there is much going on that I could, and will, cover from that perspective. It seems like I have meetings almost daily having to do with Legacy’s future direction and strategic planning.

But I want to take off my administrative hat, step back and talk a bit about accomplishments that we, as doctors, are making — for our patients, to be sure, but also for their families, for our communities and for our chosen profession.

Three recent events brought home to me the ripple effects of our work.

Like many of you, I attended the Residents’ Reunion event for Stephen Jones, M.D., in May. We think mainly of Steve’s work in building a world-class residency program when, in fact, his impact reaches far beyond Legacy and Portland. Through our relatively small program he has impacted physicians and patient care around the country and even internationally. It hit home at the recognition dinner just how big a difference one person can make in so many lives.

That same message was reinforced when I met the parents of a young open-heart surgery survivor at a Randall Children’s event. Although only weeks old at the time of his life-saving operation, he is now a strapping teenager playing varsity soccer. What his doctors did — what we do on any given day — lives on for years to come and impacts so many people.

Finally, on my monthly ICU rotation, I recently extubated a patient after a weeklong stay. Not a major event by itself, but the patient’s family was there, and they were so grateful. It really brought home to me that our work impacts not just the patient, but an entire family.

We touch families, friends and communities with our work. And our accomplishments today have important ramifications well into the future.

In this issue of eDocTalk, you can read about two outstanding individuals, Dr. Jones and John McAnulty, M.D., the Oregon Medical Association 2013 Doctor-Citizen of the Year. We also have articles about some of the ongoing investments Legacy Health is making in our clinical environments. As you read, keep in mind that even technology is really all about people.

As physicians we are continually trying to make life better for people. It’s what is so rewarding about the health care field. Not too many other professions can make that claim about their life’s work, and I thank you for dedicating your lives to it.


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