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January 29th, 2017
In A Weekend of Paranoia and Anger and Fear, Some Release From the Other Side of the Globe
This was not a happy or comfortable weekend for ID doctors, given our predilection for inclusiveness, non-judgmental care, global health, and that “safety net” idea that seems to us such an intrinsic part of being a good doctor.
Exclusion of foreigners? Why, we ask, would you do that? People from other countries are our friends, our colleagues, and our patients. Many of our favorite patients, I might add, since they might bring with them exotic, challenging, and treatable problems that are right up our alley.
Furthermore, to overstate the obvious, most of us living here in the USA are not that far removed from immigration ourselves.
Fidencio Saldana — he’s a cardiologist, the Dean of Students at Harvard Medical School, and the child of Mexican immigrants — gave medical Grand Rounds at our hospital recently.
He recounted what it was like being a medical student here, and how out of place he sometimes felt. He then movingly described how was made to feel welcome by hearing from one of our senior doctors, Marshall Wolf:
Hey relax. My parents were immigrants too. You belong here.
That was two weeks ago, a brief aside made at a lecture, yet I have thought of it frequently since, especially this weekend.
And this morning, glum and discouraged by recent events, I needed some distraction.
So I turned on the television at 6AM and watched two of the most extraordinary athletes in the world, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain, play the fifth and deciding set of tennis at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia.
The crowd was cheering, and hanging on every point, and no doubt millions of others all over the world were doing what I was doing — watching and marveling and feeling a sense of global togetherness for this extraordinary event.
And here’s the best part. After Federer won the match, a grueling 5-set affair that lasted over 3 hours, he graciously said:
Tennis is a tough sport, there are no draws. But if there was I’d be happy to share it with Rafa tonight.
Share. No gloating. No petty rivalries. No cheating. No distortion of facts. These are the best players in the world, competing at the highest level for hours, and they can still get along like friends even in the most intense setting imaginable.
You got that?