On Monday, June 20th, Dr. Goldfrank delivered his graduation remarks to the 22nd graduating class from the NYU/Bellevue EM Residency program. As graduation always is, it was an emotional night. Dr. Goldfrank’s words resonated deeply with all of the residents and their families. Below are his thoughts:
I learned that
We would not eliminate infection with novel antibiotics, but immunizations were remarkably effective
We would not save most people who had cardiac arrests from heart disease or trauma—but that the treatment of hypertension, the use of seat belts and airbags and gun control could
We could train great teams of health care providers
We could create a system where each resident and student was contemporaneously supervised 24 hours a day
A place where I could teach and care for all—each person as a VIP
I had a dream that we could create an environment where each patient could believe that in her/his worst moments there would be an excellent and compassionate team ready to help
I have a dream that we can prevent most health problems—that if the world were good through a universal health care system there would be no need for emergency departments
And awaiting that day I have stayed in a public hospital emergency department treating those in need!
And finding solutions for unsolved problems
And finding collaborators from all domains to improve the human condition
I believe that
Your skills will permit you to enter the room and approach any patient with assuredness
You have become devoted listeners
You have created trusting relationships with your patients and coworkers.
Your compassion will permit the establishment of trust
You will create true dialogues with your patients
Your honest communication with human beings will allow you to collect the evidence
Your intellectual rigor will allow you to make thoughtful informed decisions
Some say that we do not spend enough time with our patients. I say that we are deeply devoted to our patients and their community. I believe that you represent a new type of emergency physician
Part anthropologist and public health worker studying the new immigrant, the disenfranchised and the acutely ill and injured.
I am proud of your devotion to learning, listening and teaching
Your services to your patients,
your department, and
your community have been wonderful.
your optimism, and
your commitment to excellence have been inspiring.
I look forward to learning how you will make a difference
You are the best leaders and you must create the best teams.
The demands of leadership—the responsibility—will make you better people and leaders.
We appreciate your devotion to these tasks.
Invest your energy in change
Help solve the critical problems
We expect excellence from you
We expect you to make the world a better place
It is my expectation that having shared the indelible experiences of caring for those in need from every part of our global society, your idealism will continue to inspire you to assure that we create an honorable system of universal healthcare.
I know that you will continue to succeed and set exceptional standards for patient care, service, education and research.
It has been my great pleasure to work with you.
Lewis Goldfrank, MD
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