In the Ken Burns’ epic documentary on the Vietnam war, one statement by a veteran caused me to pause and think. The veteran said, “Those that fought in World War II have been called the ‘Greatest Generation’. I believe every war brings out “the best of their generation”. I realized he was right. The best of each generation has always responded in one way or another to the call of their country. They and their families did so at great personal costs and sacrifice.
Hearing those words made me think of all of you. Why? For similar reasons. At great personal costs and sacrifice, each of you have trained and prepared for your own “war” as you battle every day for those who have entrusted their care, often their lives, to you. Whether you trained 30 or more years ago, as I did, or just finished, you represent “the best of their generation”. Every year medicine is getting harder and the demands greater. Patients are older, sicker, and more complicated. Yet medically and technologically there is far more we can do for them. Unrealistic patient and family expectations, the rising costs of health care, the increasing administrative burdens, especially the EMR, and continuing loss of autonomy have created an environment that is arguably the most challenging ever for a physician.
I write this “Bugle Note” to acknowledge that you are the best of your generation. I am humbled and honored to serve you and, in many cases, to have worked alongside you in the care of our patients. Thank you for your sacrifice and the sacrifice of your families. Thank you for your willingness to answer the call to care for those in need. Finally, thank you always striving to provide the best care possible to our patients and our community.
Andy Lamb, MD
Post script – I wrote this “Bugle Notes” in 2017. We are now in a war against a terrible, invisible foe, COVID-19. “The best of their generation” are at the front lines fighting right now. We all owe them a tremendous depth of gratitude as they sacrifice much for us all.