Unsung Excellence in Medicine

George H. Haddad

Ever wonder about the people who make our health care system work at a time when reports of greed, fraud, profiteering and harmful malpractice are rampant and remedies are not advanced?

I was recently reminded how hard these proficient and caring physicians, nurses and physician assistants are working day after day and how their commitment to patients and their profession receives so little recognition. The sad occasion for these reflections was the passing this month of Dr. George H. Haddad, an alert 101-year-old surgeon who had worked for many years in New York City’s public hospitals.

Growing up in Egypt, he graduated from the American University of Beirut Medical School and returned home to serve poor farmers in a small village in the Nile Delta. Later he would say that was one of the most fascinating experiences in his life.

He came to New York City in 1947, and began a life of singular commitment to patients. He believed profit-seeking should be taken out of medical practice as much as possible. He certainly practiced what he preached as a staff physician who worked long hours for modest remuneration. Soon after his arrival in New York, fellow physicians and nurses noticed his drive toward perfection, his keeping up with developments in surgery, his quiet, reassuring bedside manner, his unfailing courtesy and mentoring of staff, and his readiness, as a bachelor, to take the place of other doctors wanting to spend holidays with their…

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