by Dr. John Cacciamani

Health care is always changing, brought on by scientific breakthroughs, technological advancements, government regulation and reform. But there is one constant: physicians still shoulder the ultimate responsibility for a patient’s care whether it be in the emergency room, on the operating table or in a clinic. From the days of Hippocrates, doctors held the fate of their fellow human beings in their hands – and certainly in their hearts.

It’s why we pause on Doctors’ Day each year to thank the men and women who made the decision to travel down that long road to becoming a physician. We at Chestnut Hill Hospital are grateful for the more than 300 physicians who make up our hospitals’ medical staff and work and live in our community.

We celebrate and honor their commitment to their field, their patients and their community. Be it a primary care doctor fresh out of residency, or a veteran surgeon who continues to hone skills by adopting the latest technology, we thank you.

It is so easy to marvel at the almost miraculous life-saving tools that medicine employs. And just as easy to become frustrated with medicine when chronic disease, terminal illness and horrific accidents win the battle over the doctor’s most drastic life-saving measures.

It is too easy to forget that the physician – the healer, the comforter, the saver of lives – is a human.

The same doctor who was triumphant in making a diagnosis in a perplexing case has to deliver the grim prognosis to the patient and his family.

The longtime family doctor who has watched a patient evolve from a vibrant and active lifestyle to an aging, weakened state may be facing the same dilemma with his own elderly parent.

On April 8 we take time to thank our doctors – newcomer and veteran, primary care and specialist – for their unwavering care to the more than 35,000 lives we at Chestnut Hill Hospital touch each year.

We acknowledge their lives outside the hospital though we realize that their chosen career path often makes it difficult to separate the two worlds. We appreciate the surgeon who ventures out in the middle of the night to save the life of a loved one. We thank the emergency room physicians and hospitalists for the personal sacrifices they make by staffing our facilities on weekends and holidays. We are grateful to those doctors who answer emergency calls from our hospital staffs and patients while out for dinner with their spouses or during a child’s birthday party.

The physicians who serve our hospital and numerous local practices all have their own stories to tell, tales of heroic measures inside our walls and in the community. Our physicians live close by, do business on the Avenue, and send their kids to local schools. They are a valuable part of Chestnut Hill family who provide you, our neighbors, with outstanding medical care.

We are fortunate to have these men and women. Today we acknowledge their contributions, sacrifices, skills and unwavering concern for our community.

John Cacciamani, MD, is the Chief Executive Officer of Chestnut Hill Hospital.

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