"To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unpre- pared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour." ― Sir Winston Churchill
They sat stiffly on the chair, eyes slightly narrowed. Lips pursed. They were there to see a doctor, but skeptical of “Western” medicine. On more than 10 herbs and supplements but not wanting any “unnatural” chemicals. Sensing the hostility, I take a few deep breaths, acknowledging the impatient de- fensiveness beginning to rise in me, finding compassion for their fears as I prepare to engage in the del- icate dance of therapeutic decision making at the end of which I will hopefully have gained their trust and persuaded them to accept me as a partner in restoring them to better health. Sometimes, it’s a mat- ter of convincing them that my “evidence” is better than theirs, that I am a better doctor than Google. More often, it means making them feel like I care about them, really, truly, deeply and that I have their best interests at heart.
Once again, our society is faced with yet another crisis. As we hear and watch the news, we can’t help but feel that more must be done for black Americans. While violent protests and looters have tainted the pure intentions of the many crying for change, the fundamental drive to identify and eliminate racism must not be derailed.
In lieu of our usual President’s message, we offer this moving remembrance of Dr. John Murray by Dr. Philip Gold. In part story of mentor and mentee, it is also a history of CTS and pulmonary and critical care medicine told through the perspective of two former society presidents.
On March 17, 2020, we began our first emergent CTS email in- forming our members that amid the confusion and unique chal- lenges of COVID-19, we would lead the charge in being a light of guidance and responsible hope for our community and respiratory healthcare providers.
This past week, CTS and the entire medical community were sad- dened to hear about the loss of our dear friend John F. Murray at the age of 93. Dr. Murray dedicated his life to advancing pulmonary medicine and providing hope to those suffering from respiratory dis- eases. To the world, he will be remembered as a giant in the field of pulmonology, but many in CTS will remember him as a master educator, mentor, personal friend and visionary past CTS president (1974).
The words of the 16th president of the United States could not be ever more applicable today as it was back then when he led a turbulent nation through the American Civil War. Presently we too, as a nation are experi- encing troubling times. We are bombarded with frequent reminders on how a novel virus has been able to not only afflict illness and death but change the daily life of Americans and halt the world's most influential economy.
While preparing for this month’s president’s message, I couldn’t help but grin and strained hard to find my old friend called disambiguation. I take comfort in making myself believe that I am not alone and that others also struggle to effectively turn neuro signal propagations into an understandable set of letters that has a graspable message.
The dawn of a new year brings hope and allows for renewed and fresh beginnings. Since 1940, CTS has reinvented and adapted its practices to meet the needs of our members and community. As a result of these changes, CTS is one of the most innovative and largest chapters of the American Thoracic Society (ATS).
First, I hope to see many of you in Monterey on January 17-18. Dr Michelle Cao and the planning committee have organized another great educational conference, highlighting Pulmonary Hypertension, COPD, oxygen delivery, Ethics, and many other hot topics in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.