You may or may not be aware, but today is National Doctors Day. This special day was created to acknowledge physicians and all the great things they do for us. Think about it. Where would we be without intelligent, compassionate doctors?? There are many incredible doctors scattered all throughout the world. On this special day, we want to share with you the story of an amazing neurosurgeon named Dr. Paul Kalanithi. His story is very special and unlike many other physicians’ life stories. You see, at the age of 37, Dr. Kalanithi died of metastatic lung cancer. The inconceivable part? He never once smoked in his entire life. He left behind a wife and infant daughter.
Dr. Kalanithi was a brilliant neurosurgeon and talented writer. He attended Standford University for his undergraduate studies and Yale University for medical school. During that time, he married his wife Lucy who is also a physician. Very quickly, he became a highly skilled and greatly respected neurosurgeon. In 2013, the unexpected happened. Dr. Kalanithi began to develop back pain and ongoing fatigue. He chalked it up to the many hours spent standing and operating on patients. After his symptoms worsened, Dr. Kalanithi visited his own doctor who ordered diagnostic tests. The 36-year-old physician was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.
Kalanithi and his wife both understood the diagnosis as well as the prognosis that accompanied it. Dr. Kalanithi was faced with a difficult reality and a burning question: how would he live out the remaining days, weeks, and months of his life? What was his dying wish? For a time, Dr. Kalanithi continued to work. As the cancer worsened, he was no longer able to work as a neurosurgeon. During that time, he and his wife made the decision to have a child even though they knew his cancer would ultimately be terminal. He also decided to write an incredible memoir entitled ‘When Breath Becomes Air” in which he grapples with the question, “what makes a meaningful life?” You can learn more about Dr. Kalanithi and his book here. You can also read his moving essay, ‘Before I Go.’
National Doctors Day Story Of Very Special Doctor
On National Doctors Day, we remember Dr. Paul Kalanithi.