Honor Your Physician on National Doctors’ Day

With insurance coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act, healthcare resource utilization is up slightly. So take the time on March 30 to recognize the work our nation’s physicians do by thanking your healthcare provider on National Doctors’ Day.

President George H.W. Bush signed the bill making this day into a national holiday in 1990. The holiday was created to recognize the contributions of great pioneers in medical research.

The president specifically mentioned members of the National Institutes of Health who were fighting the growing AIDS epidemic, as well as Dr. Charles S. Drew, who developed large-scale blood banks early in World War II, and Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed the first pericardium surgery—a procedure that cuts a small hole in the membrane surrounding the heart—to repair a wound.

“In addition to the doctors whose name we easily recognize, there are countless others who carry on the quite work of healing each day in communities throughout the United States,” President Bush wrote in 1991.

However, March 30 was being used as a day to honor physicians as early as 1933, when Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, set aside the day. The first observance of the day included mailing greeting cards and placing flowers on the graves of deceased doctors.

On this National Doctors’ Day, in addition to recognizing the work your physicians do for you and the community, remember those who put themselves at risk to care for Ebola patients in West Africa during the epidemic. A total of 3 American doctors, Craig Spencer, MD, Kent Brantly, MD, and Rick Sacra, MD, all contracted Ebola in West Africa while treating patients, but were flown back to the US, treated, and later released when they were virus-free.

Although the Ebola virus outbreak was officially declared an epidemic in August 2014, the CDC sent its first team to contain the outbreak on March 31, 2014, the day after last National Doctors’ Day.

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