National Doctors’ Day — Duty Calls

Stuart A. Bussey, MD, JD |

Every March 30th, for the past 30 years, National Doctors Day is observed to honor those professionals who have dedicated their lives and careers to their patients and communities. The genesis of the holiday by executive order of President Bush was to commemorate the first ether anesthetic administered by Dr. Crawford Lang in 1842.

UAPD physicians have demonstrated their dedication throughout this COVID-19 year in unprecedented ways. As front-line workers in a pandemic, many of us have risked our lives to care for the vulnerable- in various private, county, and state settings. Unfortunately, we have witnessed science and its methodology being co-opted by political, administrative, and special interest groups, both on a local and national scale. Scientists should always take the lead in matters of public health. Doctors must become advocates for their patients and the public good.

The word doctor is derived from the Latin word “docere”… “to teach.” It is our duty to teach others— not only our own patients but also those who seek to impose policies that could do harm to our patients and others in their communities. Whether advocating for vaccinations in the community or challenging shortsighted methodologies in CDCR’s Medication Assisted Treatment program, physicians need to stand up as advocates for rational public health policies. This requires courage to speak out against ignorance and misinformation. Our UAPD doctors have done just. It is their sacred duty. Thank you so much for what you do.

In solidarity,

Stuart Bussey, MD, JD UAPD President