By Paige Nash
On March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond organized the very first Doctors’ Day. She wanted to have a day where everyone could honor and appreciate physicians. They celebrated by mailing cards and placing flowers on the graves of the communities’ deceased doctors. It was not until almost 50 years later that this day was officially designated as “National Doctors’ Day” by President George Bush.
“All those Americans who serve as licensed physicians have engaged in years of study and training, often at great financial cost,” President Bush stated in his proclamation, “Most endure long and unpredictable hours, and many must cope with the conflicting demands of work and family life.”
We all know a physician who deserves to be acknowledged and honored on this day and Dr. Michael Ulich is one of many that serve Webster Parish. Dr. Ulich moved to Minden from New York and has independently owned and operated Minden Pediatrics since 2006. After 16 years of serving the Minden community, he still remembers his first patient.
“My first patient was a 6-month-old with a 16-year-old mother, said Ulich. “The baby had a fever with a rash, and I told her that it was a virus, and it would just have to run its course.”
The mother said she needed antibiotics and that when she was a baby, her mother always gave her antibiotics. Dr. Ulich said he spent a lot of time with the mother educating her about fever and viruses versus bacteria.
“It is difficult to change culture,” he said, “but I have kept the same philosophy and standard of care throughout. I have to spend more time with patients on education sometimes.”
The term doctor in Latin translates to “teach.”
“It is well known that Dr. Ulich is a great physician. He is a perfect combination of talent and dedication to doing the best for each individual patient,” said friend and fellow doctor, Michael Chanler, “There have been times where he was not on-call, or he was going to lose money doing the right thing for a child in need and he stepped up without hesitation.”
Dr. Ulich said he became a pediatrician to make an immediate impact in the lives of his patients and their families, and hopefully an impact on their rest of their lives. As an advocate for children, he says it is hard to see them not get the help they need due to social, financial and educational discrepancies.
“One thing I would like to see is a revamp in the Department of Children and Family Services,” he said. “This is a big problem in my practice. My patients’ medical, school and social homes need to be more integrated. This would start with a change in policies, being consistent and better communication between the pediatrician, educators and social workers.”
Doctors navigate a lot behind the scenes that most people do not realize. Along with the late-night phone calls, long hours and everyday stress of caring for the ill, they also have to battle a flawed healthcare system, fighting with insurance companies for appropriate care and trying to manage a work-life balance.
That is why it is important to take some time today to show some appreciation for all the hard work our doctors put in to serve our communities, to save lives and to advance medical knowledge, so that we may live longer and healthier. You can celebrate National Doctors’ Day by hosting a luncheon, offering services, such as a massage or a car detail. You can show appreciation by sending a card or by simply saying “thank you.”