March 30, 2021

Celebrating Doctors and Their Extraordinary Year

National Doctors’ Day honors physicians for their dedication and contributions to society and the community. Today, I want to recognize doctors worldwide, especially for their heroic efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The optimism we feel now is possible from the bravery, skill, and commitment doctors brought to their communities this past year. While vaccinations will help end the pandemic, their fortitude gave hope and healing during the virus’s darkest moments.

I’m especially grateful for the doctors I work with at Sound Physicians and proud of their contributions to their communities and our hospital partners. Their crisis response this past year is truly historic. Below are quotes I’d like to share from several Sound doctors.

“Doctors’ Day serves as a reminder that our efforts make a difference every day, even if the difference is not immediately obvious. This past year it was team support that kept me strong enough to keep going. But ultimately, for me, the idea of making a difference in patients’ lives drives me. Sometimes, ‘doctoring’ matters more to patients than the actual medicine we practice.”

Nwamaka Onyeozili, MD
Nocturnist, Sound Physicians 

“Reflecting on Doctors’ Day, I’m most driven by problem-solving, which of course relates to patient care. Patients in hospital settings often have complex medical histories and social situations. A lot of my fulfillment comes from knowing that I have helped provide a good solution to a daunting problem for someone. I also have the added privilege of teaching medical residents. As I work to solve issues, I can pass the learnings on to residents and students to help prepare them to deliver better patient care.”

Benjamin Harris, DO 
Hospitalist, Sound Physicians

“I’m blessed to be a part of the Sound Physicians and UF Health team, and this kept me strong this past year. Our teams supported one another in so many ways during an unprecedented time. Our partnership allowed us to continue delivering high-quality care to our patients, even when supplies and equipment ran low, hospital beds were hard to come by, and staffing was short. It’s been said that great teams don’t have to rise to the occasion because they don’t sink when things get tough.  I am definitely a part of a team that doesn’t sink, and we were there for our communities.”

Chirag R. Patel, DO, FACP, SFHM
Chief Hospitalist, Sound Physicians

“Humility became my measuring stick during the pandemic. I focused on my patients’ recovery. I imagined what my patients’ families were going through and how difficult it was for them, unable to see their loved ones because of new hospital safety guidelines. My focus and source of encouragement were to see my patients walk out of the hospital and be with their loved ones.”

Dr. Thinn Wah, MD
Internal Medicine, Sound Physicians 

“This year Doctors’ Day is an opportunity to recognize and salute a group of men and women who have been risking their lives to care for some of the illest patients they will ever see. In unprecedented numbers, doctors have rejoiced in lives saved and grieved over lives lost. They’ve worked to the very best of their abilities, regardless of the barriers they faced.”

Larry E. Sharp, MD
Regional Medical Director, Sound Physicians

“I’m privileged to be a physician, to live my childhood dream, and that patients allow me into their lives at their most vulnerable. Being a doctor is my calling. It isn’t glamorous or always fun. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite. But being a physician leader means I get to lead the best of the best, with the common goal of making patients better! Through the pandemic, I remain strong from knowing it is a momentous time in history and that we would be remembered by the courage we showed in the face of such despair. Every life saved, every patient that went home, every family member that thanked us for our care made me strong enough to take on another day.”

Vivek Ramanathan, MD, MBA, FHM
System Medical Director, Sound Physicians

“I will be the first to admit some very dark and anxious moments during the pandemic. Fortunately, I worked with a group of exceptional nurses, techs, and providers. Even during the most overwhelming shifts, we took care of one another. I knew that if I got sick, they would give their very best to take care of me, too. I am extremely grateful for my team getting me through this difficult year.”

Autumn Ray, MD
Medical Director, Sound Physicians

“During these strange and difficult pandemic times, I maximize my efficiency and medical problem-solving skills to help as many patients as I can and get them on the path of recovery. To doctors everywhere today, I’d like to say congratulations and leave the thought that it’s is not always about the final destination, but often about how you endure and enjoy your journey that matters the most!”

Dr. Santosh Kale
Chief Hospitalist, Sound Physicians

“In the past few months, I was honored to serve at Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, TX. It was a change of pace to be surrounded by eager young minds whose curiosity was unquenchable. Their energy and passion for learning brought out the best in the seasoned doctors who were leading them. It is a great feeling to heal a patient and an equally great feeling to teach others to continue the craft. In this picture, I am flying my dad’s burial flag. He was also an Army physician and inspired me to both careers. The word doctor comes from the Latin word for teacher. In addition to working as a clinician, I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others.”

Paul S. Porter, Jr., MD
Medical Director, Sound Physicians 

“Doctors’ Day shouldn’t be reserved to a single day but rather to be grateful and humbled every day to serve in our profession. We have actually been the lucky ones in some respect during this pandemic. We have had jobs and been considered essential workers, where so many have lost their livelihood, with untold numbers of children and families who have suffered. This year’s Doctors’ Day, for me, is about honoring all those, who despite suffering or losing a loved one no matter what the cause, continue to express compassion and gratitude to care providers, which fills my heart and keeps me humble to serve yet another day.”

Lynn Crocker, MD
Nocturnist, Sound Physicians

“As a young child, I grew up running around my grandfather’s community hospital hallways in Puerto Rico. My brothers and I would play around with everything we could get our hands-on, which later turned into a genuine interest for me to serve those ill and most vulnerable. My grandfather, father, and uncle were all doctors. I guess destiny had written its path for me. Today I’m especially driven to help and serve the underserved Latinos in Southern California by breaking through the language barrier and providing them excellent medical care.”

Dr. Juan Cruz, MD
Hospitalist, Sound Physicians

“I began work in the medical field at age 15 when I got a learner’s driving permit and became a nurse aid, it was my first exposure to healthcare. I worked doing basic ADL care at hometown nursing homes through high school. From there, I trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and worked the first summers during medical school doing EMS medical transports. I was a Nuclear Medicine/Radiology Tech before attending medical school. Nothing has ever occurred in the past 45 years that ever evoked a fear that I was placing my own life at risk to save others. I had to ask and answer my commitment to the value of that risk. I have the solemn pride to have been tested and know what I do is in my heart.”

Jay Kovar, MD
Regional Medical Director, Sound Physicians

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