I’d like to thank my fellow VA physicians, nearly 25,000 strong, who each and every day demonstrate their caring and commitment to this country’s Veterans.
March 30 is National Doctor’s Day, a day to recognize the contributions of doctors to individual lives and communities.
It marks the date that Dr. Crawford W. Long of Jefferson, GA, performed a first in surgery on March 30, 1842. Dr. Long administered ether anesthesia to a patient and then operated to remove a tumor from the man’s neck. The patient later said that he felt nothing during the surgery and was not aware the surgery was over until he awoke.
Today in the Veterans Health Administration, thousands of doctors use the remarkable advances in health care science to serve our nation’s Veterans.
At the Augusta, Georgia, VA Medical center, Vietnam Army Veteran Rufus was asked how he felt about his care from Dr. Jianhua Cheng. He responded, “He saved my life. He’s a great doctor. One of the best. I wouldn’t have another doctor.”
This is but one anecdote of the numerous evaluations our doctors receive every day from their most important critic, the Veteran patient.
When I answered the call to serve as VA Under Secretary for Health, I responded as so many of our doctors did. When your country needs you, you answer…and you receive far more than you give.
Our doctors know they serve in an organization whose purpose is noble and whose cause is great. And they feel privileged to serve our Veterans, the men and women who served our country in uniform.
VA doctors make a positive difference each day as a vital component of our dedicated healthcare workforce. Their expertise, experience and industry best practices help to ensure VA remains a leader in American medicine.
On Doctor’s Day, 2016, we honor our VA doctors and celebrate the good work they do every day.
About the Author: Dr. David Shulkin is the Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration.