Content for the IU School of Medicine alumni blog is provided by alumni of the IU School of Medicine. If you would like your story considered, please contact Ryan Bowman, director of alumni relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 278-2123.
As a young man growing up in Dayton, Ohio, searching for a profession, I was influenced by my uncle – an internist specializing in Pulmonary Medicine. He was our family doctor, available day and night.
So, after graduation from college, I went on to Saint Louis University School of Medicine. In those days, SLU emphasized the importance of clinical medicine, ie. caring for the patient. As I think back to my days in the mid 60s I remember the doctors returning for their medical school reunions and thinking to myself- these old folks should be grateful just to be upright, having a brain, let alone practicing medicine. After graduation from SLU in 1966 (50 years ago) I was accepted for specialty training in Internal Medicine and then Cardiology at Indiana School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana. I was influenced by so many great doctors, realizing the importance of my teachers and mentors. Dr. John Hickam, Director of the Department of Medicine, assembled an amazing faculty. Midway through my residency Dr. Charles Fisch, Director of the Cardiology Department, asked me to be his personal Cardiology fellow. I was overwhelmed at the generous offer, even that he knew my name. So on to Cardiology where again so many outstanding academic physicians imparted their brilliance to me. This included Dr. Harvey Fiegenbaum – Father of Echocardiography- and then Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab and so many, many others. I am sure this background of training prepared me for whatever success I had in my ensuing years of practice. In between my years of fellowship I served two years in the Air Force and still get misty on Memorial Day and July 4th. Back to I.U., I was given an opportunity to stay in academic Cardiology but really desired to practice clinical Cardiology, so on to Dayton, Ohio, for one year and then Fort Myers, Florida, where I remain to this day.
I have been acquainted and influenced by many past presidents of the A.C.C. – Dr. Charles Fisch, Dr. Suzanne Knoebel, Dr. John Williams, Dr. Sylvan Weinberg, Dr. Richard Popp, Dr. Doug Zipes, and our present president, Dr. Richard Chazal, all of whom imparted their special and unique wisdom to me in their own ways.
I have been grateful to so many for my career- my own doctors – yes, doctors need doctors. My internist, a fellow dinosaur who cares about his patients and is always available – you don’t need much more than that. My other doctors include my ophthalmologist, gastroenterologist, and urologist and not, as yet, a cardiologist or neurologist.
I am grateful to my wife of 54 years who has always supported my endeavors, and who no doubt raised our family at times single-handedly – patients do get sick at night.
I am grateful to my 3 daughters who have grown up to be ‘good people’ in spite of the times their father was not there for them. I am grateful to my grandchildren for being my grandchildren.
I am grateful to my son in law, an interventional cardiologist practicing in another community, who educated me on STEMI, TAVR, Mitral Clip procedures, and much more. I am grateful to my present colleagues and staff for letting me practice as I desire.
I am also very grateful to all my patients, present and past, who believed in me and in my ability to help them feel better. I have always felt the means to be a quality doctor is first of all to care about your patient. You knock on the exam room door and introduce yourself, realizing that the patient is apprehensive and anxious. You sit down, look them in the eye, and listen as the patient will more often than not convey the correct diagnosis. You offer probing questions, review past history, conduct a thorough examination, plan appropriate lab studies and arrange a follow-up visit to review your diagnosis and initial therapy.
I do realize that medicine is changing and that change is necessary for everything. I will not review all of these, I will only add that changes are not always valuable. I believe that the practice of medicine is an amazing and unequaled profession. Where else can you truly help your fellow man?
So, as I return for my 50th medical school reunion at Saint Louis University in October I will look at the medical students, both men and women, as it should be, and as they look at the old men, including myself, roaming the halls and classrooms of the past, I hope they will think – look at that – a dinosaur still in motion.
Richard H. Davis, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Share your story: Content for the IU School of Medicine alumni blog is provided by alumni of the IU School of Medicine. If you would like your story considered, please contact Ryan Bowman, director of alumni relations, at email@example.com or (317) 278-2123.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.