James L. Cox was born in 1942 in Fair Oaks, Arkansas, into a family of rice farmers. A baseball scholarship at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) provided his first pathway to higher education. Upon graduation he returned to his parents’ farm. Dr. Cox recalls driving the family’s truck one day laying down gravel when he went back to the house for lunch, his mother greeted him with a letter saying that he had been accepted at the University of Tennessee Medical School. Then his father came out to say that a scout from the Los Angeles Dodgers had stopped by to make a final offer. Knowing from the time he was 16 that he wanted to become a doctor, he accepted the first offer.
Although Baylor College of Medicine is now a preeminent center for cardiothoracic surgery, it is a relatively young institution — less than 75 years old — and its beginnings were inauspicious. It opened in 1946 after President Franklin Roosevelt, in 1944, approved the purchase of 118 acres from the Hermann estate for the construction of a 1,000-bed naval hospital in Houston. The hospital, later renamed the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, became a teaching facility for the Baylor College of Medicine.
A born and bred Houstonian, Dr. Joseph S. Coselli graduated from a Jesuit high school in Houston and headed for Notre Dame University intent on following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a lawyer. That plan changed during the summer between the freshman and sophomore years at college when he had the opportunity to work for Dr. Denton Cooley as part of his “pump” team. There, in the early glory days of cardiothoracic surgery when surgeons were performing as many as 25 to 30 “on pump” cases a day, it just clicked and he knew what he wanted to become — a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Dr. Joel D. Cooper, M.D. was born in Charleston, West Virginia, into a family of rabbis. Both his father and grandfather had been rabbis. Ever since he was a boy he liked to experiment with gadgets and set off trying to make explosives when he got his first chemistry set. His mother once told him that he would have been happy being a mechanic, but she was happy he became a doctor.
Doctors often use the excuse that they have too much to do to take vacation. According to a study by Project: Time Off, Americans waste a record 658 million vacation days a year. The main reasons for doing so included returning to a pile of work, having no one else who can do the job, and not being able to afford a holiday.
These arguments are real challenges for many physicians. While it feels great to finally get away, the preparation leading up to a trip can be incredibly stressful. And thinking about the amount of work you’ll have to catch up on after vacation is enough to put a damper on any trip planning.
But while these problems may seem insurmountable, not prioritizing break time can have dire consequences to your health. Fortunately, you can use some effective strategies to make downtime less worrisome, and health benefits that will have you considering time off more seriously.
In 2007, medicine’s most famous feud ended. For 40 years, Drs. Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley had barely spoken to each other. It started in 1960 when Cooley left DeBakey’s practice to work at St. Luke’s Hospital in Texas — and eventually start the Texas Heart Institute.
In just four years, physician burnout has increased by 25 percent. What’s behind the rise? Medscape recently surveyed physicians and found that the feelings are connected to many healthcare reform issues.
Here are four stats on physician burnout to know:
Over 100 years ago, two surgeries performed in Norway and Germany, respectively, marked the beginning of cardiac surgery. Until that time, the heart was considered sacrosanct and was not to be violated by surgeons’ hands.
Dr. René Gerónimo Favaloro was an Argentine cardiac surgeon who pioneered coronary artery bypass surgery while at the Cleveland Clinic. He was born and raised in La Plata, capital of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina to carpenter Juan B. Favaloro and Ida Y. Raffaelli, a dressmaker, both immigrants from Sicily, Italy.
Soon after completing his undergraduate degree in 1941, Favaloro was inducted into the Argentine army where he served for five years. In 1946, he left the service and continued his medical studies at La Universidad Nacional de La Plata, graduating in 1949. He would spend the next 12 years in a small farming community, La Pampa, as a rural physician. There, he educated patients about preventive medicine, established the first “mobile” blood bank in this area, and built his own operating room, where he trained general and surgical nurses. He later wrote about this period of his life in his book Memoirs of a Country Doctor.
On Dec. 3, 1967, a medical milestone was made in Cape Town, South Africa. A 54-year-old grocer, Louis Washkansky, received a heart transplanted from a young woman who died in a fatal accident while crossing the street. A medical team of 30 under the direction of Dr. Christiaan Barnard, assisted by his right-hand man and brother Marius, performed the nine-hour operation. Washkansky survived the operation and lived for 18 days before succumbing to pneumonia.