Celebrating Our Continued Commitment to Exceptional Medical Care
I have enjoyed many lavish breakfasts and occasional gifts over the years in recognition of National Doctor’s Day. Did you know that it is, in fact, a national holiday?
The first Doctor’s Day was observed on March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia. The date was chosen in recognition of what was identified as the anniversary of the first time that ether was given as a general anesthetic in surgery. On March 30, 1842, Dr. Crawford Long of Barrow County, Georgia, used ether to help him operate on a patient to remove a tumor from the patient’s neck. The Barrow County Medical Society Auxiliary proclaimed the date of March 30 as “Doctor’s Day” and mailed cards of appreciation to physicians in the area and their wives, and also placed flowers on the graves of deceased doctors, including Dr. Long.
It was not until March 30, 1958, however, that the United States House of Representatives adopted a resolution to commemorate Doctor’s Day that year. In 1990, legislation was introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate to establish a National Doctor’s Day. Following its approval by both houses of Congress, President George H.W. Bush signed a resolution designating March 30 as National Doctor’s Day. The first official National Doctor’s Day was celebrated in 1991.
Each year, in recognition of National Doctor’s Day, the American Medical Association (AMA) expresses its appreciation to the nation’s approximate 900,000 physicians and thanks each for their “continuing commitment to exceptional medical care.” In 2007, it furthermore listed the many significant strides that have been made against the leading causes of death in America, due in no small part to the dedicated work of the many skilled men and women physicians. These accomplishments include:
• 6.97 years increase in life expectancy since 1960
• 42% decrease in the overall death rate since 1950
• 76% decrease in the infant mortality rate since 1950
• 60% decrease in the overall death rate for heart disease since 1950
• 70% decrease in the overall death rate for stroke since 1950
• 12% decrease in the overall death rates for cancer since 1950
The Editorial staff of Clinical Geriatrics joins me in expressing a heartfelt thanks to our nation’s physicians for a “job well done.” Without your excellent and dedicated work, the health and well-being of current and future generations of older persons would not be so bright. Our appreciation is not only for March 30 when the nation joins together in this very special day of appreciation, but every day throughout the year.