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ISMS Physicians Share Inspiring Stories in Celebration of Doctors’ Day
Posted on: 3/25/2019

We congratulate ISMS members for their commitment to medicine and their patients!

In honor of Doctors' Day, celebrated on March 30, several ISMS physicians shared their stories and personal accounts of physicians in their lives who mentored them or inspired them to become a physician in the first place.

Do you have a story of inspiration to share with us? Drop us an email any time and let us know!

Kathy Tynus, MD Kathy Tynus, M.D.

I'd like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to Dr. Marie Brown, who played a pivotal role in my career.

For many years she has served as a role model, mentor and a sponsor to me, and has done so with grace, goodwill and without fanfare. We both worked together as primary care internists at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, IL. She was then a role model to me as a hard-working, intelligent, well-respected female internist and a strong advocate for her patients.

She served as a mentor and sponsor when she recommended my appointment to the Test Writing Committee at the American Board of Internal Medicine. It was an honor to be nominated and I was terrified that I would not measure up as a primary care internist at a small community hospital, as I was surrounded by specialists and generalists from academic centers on this committee. Dr. Brown was its Chair, and led the committee with strength and tact as she steered the committee to work towards considering the needs and abilities of primary care docs in non-academic settings when writing test questions. She let us PCPs on the committee know that our opinions were important, which made a huge difference for me.

To this day, she continues to help guide me in my career and provide me with ideas, confidence and opportunities. And I know she does this for countless others without even thinking twice about it. She is a remarkable woman and I am very grateful to Dr. Marie Brown.


Scott Cooper, MD Scott Cooper, M.D.

When I was a child, my parents had a friend who was a physician. He was an entrepreneur, and built a very successful multi-specialty clinic in Bensenville. He would get phone calls from patients all the time, even while he was spending time with our family socially. I remember how exciting it was to see him take these calls, because he was dealing with patient care, he was really helping people, and his patients clearly respected him. Seeing that when I was young really influenced my decision to become a physician myself.


Adrienne Fregia, M_D_ Adrienne L. Fregia, M.D.

An event I can recall where I felt particularly appreciated for my work and those of the medical community around me fell on any other routine Monday. A few hours after starting my day, a dear coworker of mine who is a transporter for my endoscopy patients, ran up to me and asked if I would be able to see her dad urgently. He had been transferred to the rehabilitation facility after suffering from a stroke and a GI bleed. Her father had recently undergone an endoscopy with epinephrine injection and clips placed, and she was concerned because in her most recent visit he had vomited up blood.

I said, “yes, of course,” and she notified her dad’s doctor. He was transferred to endoscopy while receiving blood and was still not doing well after 45 minutes of injecting and placing clips on a large duodenal ulcer. I knew more needed to be done if he was going to survive. I ran downstairs and asked one of our interventional radiologists if he could see the patient for possible embolization. Two hours later, he had successfully embolized the artery and the bleeding stopped. My coworker was grateful to me and the radiologist for the efforts made to save her dad’s life.

I was appreciative that the community this transporter had served with such warmth and compassion had been able to serve her that day. That afternoon was composed of many brave and thoughtful people performing their jobs and responding to the call of someone in need, and it was a perfect of example of moments where I feel extremely proud to be a part of the community of medicine.


William Werner, MD William Werner, M.D.

When I completed my internal medicine residency training, I joined an established internist in private practice. He was a strong supporter of organized medicine and, as part of our professional arrangement, the practice paid for dues to the local and state medical societies, the AMA and our specialty societies. This commitment made an impression on me about the importance of supporting our professional organizations.


Craig Backs, MD Craig Backs, M.D.

As I share the results of our efforts to reverse arterial disease and insulin resistance, my patients routinely experience and express their happiness that they are improving their measures of health and longevity.

Recently, a gentleman presented me with a very nice pen that he had made from olive wood he had brought back from the Holy Land. This is a gift I will treasure as a sign that my efforts were truly appreciated.

Dick Herndon, MD, a general internist and a mentor during my medical school and residency days, used to say as he was making rounds in the evening in the hospital “Isn’t this fun?!” Now that I have reoriented to promoting wellness I have found myself saying this to myself and others more than I ever have.

I look forward to doing this into my 70’s and beyond. But I fear most of my colleagues won’t experience this joy as they labor in a reactive and sickness-focused model of health care. I hope that will change – and soon – or we will lose more valued colleagues to retirement, sickness, impairment and death.


Nestor A_ Ramirez, M_D_ Nestor A. Ramirez, M.D., MPH

In 1950, when I was 18 months old, I had appendicitis with peritonitis. The panel of doctors who examined me did not want to do the surgery, all except for one. He was a friend of my family. He performed the operation at a clinic in Bogotá, Colombia. His assistant was a medical student who was living in our home.

I was inspired to be a doctor by him, and my folks always related the story. As I was growing up, on my birthday and at Christmas I would be gifted with little doctor kits, or with books about medicine and about real and fictional physicians.

In 1972, while I was an intern moonlighting at that same clinic, I had the opportunity of being the assistant on an appendectomy with that same doctor. I told them the story, and he remembered the case. He was pleased that I had followed in his footsteps to become a doctor, and proud to have been the inspiration.


WIlliam Kobler, MD William Kobler, M.D.

At my recent retirement celebration, in some remarks to the guests, I recognized three people that were key to my development as a practicing physician and physician leader.

First was David Hill, an RPh in the family-owned pharmacy where I worked during high school and college. Through his actions, Dave taught me to care about people and was a model for selfless devotion to your profession.

Second was G. Eugene Boyd, MD, my direct supervisor during Family Medicine residency training. Gene taught me not only the science of medicine, but also the art of medical practice.

And finally, Joseph Perez, MD showed me that besides the practice of medicine, there is the world of organized medicine that is necessary to advocate for patients and physicians and how they are allowed to receive and provide medical care.




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