Before I conclude with Part III, a brief interlude.
For those who work with trainees, we all recall the special resident.
I interviewed Matt as a prospective MS IV, and during that encounter, his pompadour, thin tie, pointy shoes, and thick, dark rimmed glasses struck me. A musician?
Indeed (upright bass), and from Nashville to boot, we immediately began to converse on all things music—a love of mine. In particular, and not lost on Matt, was my passion for alt-country, a genre I am very fond of, and a certain corridor for conversation, at least for this dreamer.*
We exchanged a few emails, and fortunately for Lenox Hill, he commenced his internship in July 2010.
A consummate professional and gentleman, with a gift for earnest, wholehearted conversation, he made an impression on all. He was a pleasure to teach and supervise this past year.
I asked him early on about his career choice. “Ophthalmology,” he said.
“Why,” I responded.
He expressed that the eyes were all about spatial planes, artistry, and creativity. I was not sure I understood completely, but the passion in his answer was clear. He knew himself and “retinal cohabitation” was destiny.
Well, June 2011 arrives, and we say our emotive goodbye. Our loss, Optho’s gain of course. Matt, I hasten to add, is well suited for primary care, with his devotion to people and their sensitivities (he might be the only ophthalmologist on the planet who will discuss end of life care with his patients :)).
It is a shame, we need more folks like Matt in Internal Medicine. In this case though, its all about love of career, and even at a quarter of the salary, his path is unmoved. Like the title, “the eyes have it.” _______________________________________________________________
Coda: After his departure, I was heartened and touched to find the below drawing on my desk. Now the “artistry” angle is clear, and the meaning less clandestine. They say a picture is worth a thousand words:
Well, we continue to communicate, and I am sure it will last. The pleasure endures, and it is still mine (with his usual refrain, “what did you listen to today?”).
The payoff, as friendship does have its merits–is knowing a future eye doctor where copay’s are off the table. LOL.
Incidentally, I inquired of him in June about his favorite artist. Shockingly, there is a striking resemblance. I never realized. LOL #2.
*I remember Charlie Rose conveying to Lenny Kravitz on his program that despite the brilliance and accomplishment of his guests, half of them, as they relate it to him off camera, would throw it all away to live Lenny’s life for one day. Yup.
Bradley Flansbaum, DO, MPH, MHM works for Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA in both the divisions of hospital medicine and population health. He began working as a hospitalist in 1996, at the inception of the hospital medicine movement. He is a founding member of the Society of Hospital Medicine and served as a board member and officer. He speaks nationally in promoting hospital medicine and has presented at many statewide meetings and conferences. He is also actively involved in house staff education.
Currently, he serves on the SHM Public Policy Committee and has an interest in payment policy, healthcare market competition, health disparities, cost-effectiveness analysis, and pain and palliative care. He is SHM’s delegate for the AMA House of Delegates.
Dr. Flansbaum received his undergraduate degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY and attended medical school at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. He received his M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University.
He is a political junky, and loves to cook, stay fit, read non-fiction, listen to many genres of music, and is a resident of Danville, PA.