Complete Story


National Doctors Day 2024


Tomorrow is National Doctors Day. For our team at The Academy, this is not one of those “National” days like “National Hot Dog Day” or “National Houseplant Appreciation Day” (Yes. It’s real. Jan 10th.) But the reality is, our non-profit budget is simply not built to buy thousands of stethoscope embossed cookies for Cincinnati doctors, so I’d been wracking my brain for another way to commemorate this day. Then something happened.

My husband handed me my mom’s phone, discovered while cleaning out our home office. My mom passed almost 9 years ago, but as we all know time is no measure for loss of our loved ones. As I anxiously listened to her saved voicemails, a familiar voice came through. It was her oncologist, Dr. Doug Flora.

A 43 second message from him-not his office-left after hours. Tied into his updates on her pet scan were words of encouragement and compassion.

Mom was only a patient of Dr. Flora’s for a very short time. Her cancer was discovered via an emergency surgery and an infection from that surgery took her 2 months later. But in that short time, here’s what I can share about his care.

Understanding the gravity of the situation, rather than “squeeze her in” and limit time with his other patients, he extended his workday with a 6pm appointment. As we sat nervously in the waiting room, all secretly praying for hope, Dr. Flora came out and greeted us. Two things struck me immediately-his warmth, and his bowtie.

Throughout our meeting, Dr. Flora showed no signs of “last appointment of the day” itch to wrap up. He spoke thoughtfully, explained thoroughly, and took time for our many questions.

Mom began treatment immediately for her very rare aggressive disease. Although the odds were stacked against her, she was showing signs of response to the therapy. Unfortunately, within weeks severe pain led her to the hospital, where we learned her post surgery infection was terminal.

As we sat in her hospital room on a Sunday waiting for hospice to transfer her to the comfort of our home, a man walked in. This time, no bowtie. Instead, he wore a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. But still the same warmth. It was Dr. Flora, missing precious time with his family to give support to our family with no time left.

Here’s my point.

Being a hero as a doctor is not always about saving lives.

It’s about choosing the tough road-8 years of training and hundreds of thousands of debt-so they can help people.

It's about working against all odds-insurance barriers, endless paperwork, a myriad of performance metrics-to follow their Hippocratic Oath.

It’s about making sacrifices-working tirelessly and giving up time with their loved ones so they can care for ours.

So if you’ve made it this far in my story, please take a moment to appreciate our Cincinnati doctors. Whether you're a patient, a colleague, or a peer physician, let’s recognize the work doctors do every day that makes them heroes.

Happy National Doctors Day from all of us at The Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati.

Jessica Sellar
Executive Director
Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati

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1 Comment

John R. Corker, MD FACEP   on Saturday 03/30/2024 at 01:47 PM

Thank you for this, Jessica. It made my and my wife's National Doctors' Day to be able to share in your experience and gratitude. May God Bless you and keep you and your loved ones this Easter Weekend, as I have no doubt that your mother is smiling down so proudly on you this day and always. Happy National Doctors' Day, indeed.

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