We have come from quiet farmland in the middle of Michigan and the crowded streets of New York City; from the US naval base in Norfolk, Virginia; the Chugach Mountains in Anchorage, Alaska; and Valle de los Chillos outside Quito, Ecuador. We are Catholic and Muslim and agnostic. The children of immigrants and descendants of the Mayflower. We speak Arabic, Cantonese, English, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese. In a profession long dominated by white men, half of us are women; three-quarters of us are people of color.
But we all want the same thing: to become the best surgeons we can possibly be.
That is why we’ve come to MetroHealth.
We did not choose to become surgery residents here because of the diversity of our classmates. But we are grateful for it. Understanding people is what the practice of medicine is all about. And what better way to understand people who are different than us than to spend 8 or 10 or 12 hours a day working with them? Working shoulder to shoulder with people from around the world broadens our thinking, opens our minds, and makes us better caregivers.
We chose MetroHealth because of its reputation.
We knew that practicing surgery at a hospital with an experienced Level I Trauma Center and a Comprehensive Burn Center would give us the opportunity to care for people with some of the most devastating injuries and illnesses, the opportunity to make the biggest difference in people’s lives. It would be hard work, our medical school professors told us. But here, we would learn from some of the country’s best surgeons. And we would leave with skills and knowledge, they said, that was deeper and broader than most hospitals could teach.
They were right.
We are handling tough cases. We are working hard. And we are learning more about being good surgeons than we ever imagined. But something else is happening here, too.
MetroHealth is making us better people.
Doctors here have taught us to treat patients as though they are family. It doesn’t matter if they come to us in suits and ties or orange jumpsuits, with insurance or without; they are welcomed and cared for with kindness and compassion and without judgment.
Doctors here have taught us to meet people where they are instead of where we think they should be, to honor their wishes, to be a safe harbor for everyone who needs us—no matter who they are.
They have taught us that everyone deserves a chance at getting the best care possible, that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
They have taught us that we treat people—human beings—not diseases. And that our patients come first, before our institutions, before ourselves.
They have taught us to open our hearts.
These are the lessons we will take with us, no matter where in the world we end up. And they are the lessons we will pass on to those we teach in years to come.
As you have read in this book, this humanity was embedded in MetroHealth the day it was founded. And it will carry this institution proudly into the future.
What we want you to know is that MetroHealth is not a building, not a place. It is a way of life, a conviction that we see every day in every person who works here. It is an ideal that has been passed on to us, a piece of history we will carry into the future—a future made better by MetroHealth.