May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep
within your heart;
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice,freedom and peace;
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, starvation, war and loss, so that you may
reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy;
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do
what others claim cannot be done;
May God bless you with God's comforting presence nMow and in your journeys through each day.
- Franciscan blessing read by the Rev. Ginny Brown at Dr. Leanne Jordan's memorial service.
My first-year medical school class had 125 students in it; onMly six were women. Now half of medical students are
I did my specialty training at the University of New Mexico and was surprised that several other residents in
obstetrics and gynecology came from medical school in Denver. The former chairman of the OB-GYN department excluded
women from his program.
Imagine not letting women learn to care for women! Fortunately, that has changed; now only two of 36 OB-GYN residents
at the University of Colorado are male.
A friend studied the culture of operating rooms for his doctorate in sociology. He noted a huge change from the 1960s
to the present. Men initially dominated - both figuratively and literally - and many operating room nurses lived in
terror of the behavior of surgeons. As more women became surgeons, the ethos improved. The operating room became a
kinder, gentler place, and patients benefited as well as the staff.
Worldwide, empowerment of women is one of the most important steps we can take to slow population growth.
Women in medicine often take time off to have children and to raise their family, so female doctors may take longer to
finish their training. I am proud of our daughter-in-law, Dr. Stephanie Shrago, for excelling in medical school and
family practice residency and having two wonderful daughters. Of course, I also have to thank our son Dave who does a
lot of our granddaughters' care.
Another remarkable physician with whom I practiced for almost 12 years just died. Dr. Leanne Jordan's memorial service
was held earlier this month with an overflow crowd of admirers. Speakers at the service recalled Leanne's talents - an
amazing athlete, empathetic friend and an outstanding doctor. When we worked together in the operating room, I felt as
though I were energized with a second cup of coffee because she was always so quick - but careful - during surgery.
One friend said that Leanne's smile would light up a whole room. I knew about many of her accomplishments and numerous
athletic skills that were mentioned during the service.
I will never forget the story of her skinny-dipping with a friend after rowing practice when some guys moved their
clothes away from the river's bank.
Leanne died of the breast cancer that she fought valiantly for years. I admire her for being the poster child" for
cancer treatment. She did not hide the fact that she was battling the disease.
This openness was a source of solace for others with serious illnesses and an encouragement to get screened for
Early detection of breast cancer is key to its cure, as with many other diseases. Breast self-exam is good, but
mammograms can detect disease long before it can be felt.
Mercy has just opened its state-of-the-art Breast Care Center. It has the latest equipment for the diagnosis of breast
problems. In addition, it is beautiful. Stunning art, a fireplace and the dragonfly motif help to soften the usual
In the past, I heard complaints about pain caused by mammograms, but I don't any more. That may be because the new
digital machines are faster. They are safer, too, because they use less radiation.
Regrettably, not all women have health insurance to cover mammography.
There are programs to help women older than 40, so finances shouldn't be a reason to avoid this important test.
The criteria are confusing for the different programs, so it is best to call B.J. Boucher at the American Cancer
Society local office, 259-3527.
We have benefited from more women participating in medical care. It is sad that we recently lost one of the finest, Dr.
Richard Grossman practices obstetrics and gynecology in Durango. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Richard Grossman MD, 2009