Jefferson Surgical Solutions

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1968 - Fifty years on...

As a senior member of the surgical community here at Jefferson, I have immense faith in our future. It is worth underscoring the famous quote of George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Events this year have prompted me to recall the crucial events of my teenage years, specifically the year 1968. Three sources have served to underscore my memories: a CNN special, the Jan/Feb issue of Smithsonian entitled “The Year that Shattered America,” and an exhibit at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, MN. Seismic events occurred in 1968: (1) in January, the Tet offensive, (2) in March, President Johnson announced he would not run for reelection, (3) on April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, (4) on June 4, Robert F. Kennedy was murdered in Los Angeles, (5) in August, there was mayhem at the Democratic National Committee in Chicago, and (6) the year ended in December with the historic Apollo 8 mission, the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. Movements such as civil rights, human rights and youth culture “exploded with force in 1968.” Rock and roll music was there, on the airwaves, and on LPs, annotating the journey.

In speaking to my two sons and our Jefferson medical students, graduate students and residents, I have an eerie sense of deja-vu in 2018, as I see parallels between the two years, separated by 50 trips around the sun. The news cycles are filled with stories of political turmoil, human rights violations, civil disorder, and unending wars accompanied by tensions (military, economic and trade) between the world’s superpowers. Many young adults are now worried, anxious, threatened and concerned – as were we in 1968.

The year 2018 will pass. We here at Jefferson will continue to do wonderful, amazing things for the good (and health) of our patients. Our clinical trials will continue to be successful and important. We will continue to educate, operate with great skill, innovate and teach. Enjoy this issue, which presents some of our exciting news and initiatives. Will history repeat? Let’s hope so… at least for the sake of the Philadelphia Eagles!