Letter to the editor by Tim Stapleton, CEO, Florida Medical Association

Sarasota Herald Tribune

When a health crisis upends our lives, the care of a trusted physician is valuable beyond measure. The past few weeks brought this fact into sharp focus as communities worldwide began grappling with the frightening COVID-19 pandemic. And in each of those communities, countless physicians are continuing to put themselves at risk without hesitation to save lives, provide testing, and reassure vulnerable patients. National Doctors’ Day is Monday, March 30, and there is no better time for all of us to say, “Thank you.”

In my work as a medical association executive for more than 27 years, I’ve had the opportunity to not only collaborate with hundreds of physicians in advocating for patients, but also to get to know them as people: parents, little league soccer coaches, musicians, philanthropists, veterans, mission volunteers. What they all share, regardless of background, specialty, practice setting or generation, is an unwavering dedication to patient care.

They comfort distraught family members in hospital rooms and help them navigate next steps. They send flowers to cancer patients who are recovering from surgery. They make sure they’re in the operating room as their patients are undergoing anesthesia in order to be a comforting presence. They do so quietly and without fanfare, all while carrying the enormous responsibility that comes with being a physician, to say nothing of the mounting administrative, bureaucratic pressures.

This Doctors’ Day, the Florida Medical Association pays special tribute to our state’s physicians — people who do the extraordinary every day on behalf of Floridians and simply call it doing their jobs. Thank you for your compassion, commitment and unfailing leadership all year long.

Tim Stapleton is the chief executive officer of the Florida Medical Association headquartered in Tallahassee.