From Staff Reports
For nearly 90 years, March 30 has been a day to honor physicians and the ways that they serve others — through patient care, healthcare leadership and community service. Usually, it’s a time for patients and families to say “thank you” to doctors for their important role in helping individuals and promoting the overall health of the nation.
After a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Doctors’ Day carries a new significance — physicians have been on the frontlines in battling the disease and saving lives.
Doctors’ Day began in Winder, Georgia, on March 30, 1933, when Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, launched the event to honor local physicians. The date commemorated the day on which anesthesia was first administered to a patient, also in Georgia, by Dr. Crawford W. Long in 1842.
The first observance of Doctors’ Day included the mailing of greeting cards and the placing of flowers on graves of deceased physicians. Through the years, the red carnation has been used as the symbol of Doctors’ Day.
After Doctors’ Day legislation in Congress received overwhelming support in 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a law designating March 30 as “National Doctors’ Day.” This year, the tradition continues as area residents are encouraged to send cards and notes to their current physicians or retired physicians.
“In light of the COVID pandemic and the increased demands it placed on our health system, it’s appropriate to say thank-you to all healthcare workers, especially our physicians,” said Cyndi Bailey, president of the Washington-Unicoi-Johnson County Medical Alliance. “You could email a message of gratitude, hand deliver a card on your next visit, send a red carnation to a retired doctor or make a charitable donation in honor of a physician. The important thing is to let those who care for us know that we appreciate their service.” Local Alliance members have celebrated and supported Doctors’ Day since the chapter was founded in 1949.
“Our community enjoys excellent healthcare services, due in part to the dedication and tireless commitment of our local doctors,” Bailey added. “We hope others will encourage their physicians by simply saying thanks.” The Alliance supports the local medical community, provides volunteer services and funds for health-related organizations and promotes healthy lifestyles in the tri-county area.