Medical students are frequently asked why they want to become physicians, but few are asked at the end of their careers if their expectations have been met, writes retired cardiologist Harry Graber. Thus, the Professor Emeritus and former Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Ohio State University (OSU) School of Medicine decided to share his satisfying personal, spiritual and professional journey in these pages.
From recovery as a sickly, non-thriving child, to his initial career as an educator on the Navajo Reservation and volunteer medical work abroad, Graber describes the mentor relationships and spiritual calls to service that led to key decisions in his life. Eventually choosing to train for a medical career in internal medicine, he specialized in cardiology.
Using patient cases—such as describing the insertion of a massive, first-generation pacemaker, or discussing a bee-sting victim who presented without a blood pressure but was successfully stabilized—he recounts his long relationship with OSU and the Mary Rutan community hospital in Bellefontaine that helped to bring state-of-the art cardiology to rural Ohio.
Overall, he lived a life that successfully validated his desire and expectations to help patients through what he refers to as his medical “calling” and shows the medical profession in a refreshingly positive light. Graber also includes the stories of other respected physicians who share their own influences and experiences.
The author’s spiritually oriented, anecdotal reflections on a lifetime of medical achievement is told in a chronological and straightforward manner, rather than employing an artful narrative arc that would draw in general readers. (For example, he writes: “I enjoyed my three years of teaching at Studebaker School. I was well received by the principal, the teachers, and the students I taught”). As such, it would seem most suited for those closest to him: family, friends and medical colleagues. Individuals contemplating a medical career, however, may glean some insights from his optimistic look at the profession and his path to becoming a physician.
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