Archive | 10:34 pm

100,000 airplanes and doctoring

6 Jun

Over the past half-century, we’ve split the atom, we’ve spliced the gene, and we’ve roamed Tranquility Base.  We’ve reached for the stars, and never have we been closer to having them in our grasp.  New science, new technology is making the difference between life and death, and so we need a national commitment equal to this unparalleled moment of possibility.  And so I announce to you tonight that I will bring the full resources of the federal government and the full reach of my office to this fundamental goal: We will cure cancer by the end of this decade.

~Sam Seaborn

Two somewhat crazy things: 1) that West Wing episode will have aired a decade ago this coming January; and 2) the drug Dr. Abbey Bartlet’s colleagues were discussing at dinner (which led the President to want to announce in the State of the Union address that we were going to find a cure for cancer in the next decade) was none other than Gleevec or, as they referred to it, a Signal Transduction Inhibitor.

So…I’ve had two exceptionally wonderful weekends in a row that, coupled with the summer fever-induced lack of productivity, has led to mild sense of panic.  It’s unfortunate that the first thing I take off my plate  to catch up on the “hard science-y stuff” are the lectures on which we’re not tested, namely those of our Doctoring I course.  The course might appropriately be subtitled “how to not be a jerk,” so I think there is a tendency among most of us, myself certainly included, to assume that it’s not meant for us personally…it’s for all those other gunners.  I didn’t think twice about skipping the talk today.  Then I ran into Jin on the ground floor of John Morgan as he was walking to Reunion Hall and I was clearly not:

Jin: “You’re not going to the lecture?”

Me: “No, I don’t think so, I need to VC.”

Jin: “You really should.  Dr. Shannon is an excellent speaker.”

He didn’t say anything else; he didn’t really try to convince me.  But it’s so rare for a fellow student to share an unsolicited personal opinion about how another student should use his/her “free” time.  I have to admit, I was a little taken aback, and I was much more persuaded by this personal recommendation than by the mass email from Suite 100 encouraging us to attend.

I can’t replicate the force of Dr. Shannon’s talk.  The manner in which he believed in the possibility of the elimination of ALL hospital acquired infections and medication errors, and in which he urged us to not only aim for but actually ACHIEVE similarly audacious goals…well, it was nothing short of Sam Seaborn material.

Yes, Jin, I’m glad I went.  Thank you.