Monday, May 23, 2011

Dr. John Hawkins

What a wonderful Doctor, and human being Dr. John Hawkins was. Dr. Hawkins performed Ethan's open heart surgery when he was 5 months old. He was kind, funny, professional and mostly warm and empathetic, and THE BEST. literally. The best pediatric cardio thoracic surgeon in the world, and lucky for us, right here when our family needed it.

Every time I met/saw Dr. Hawkins he was so very kind, and it floored me how he could remember people, the thousands of children that have passed through his operating room. It's what made him so good at what he did.

Dr. Hawkins was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer almost two years ago, and he lost that battle last Sunday. A true loss for the world. He literally operated on children from all over the world, every day, several times a day.

The day before Ethan was to have open heart surgery, his nurse, Bonnie called to say that due to scheduling issues, Dr. Hawkins may have to pass to his associate Dr. Kouretas... I expressed my grief at this, it's like when you are pregnant, and you have this Dr for 9 months, and then they try to give you some resident to deliver your baby... I told her that I felt we "knew" Dr. Hawkins, and that he KNEW Ethan's heart, we wanted him.

Dr. Hawkins made it happen. He operated on a sick baby for 7 hours before moving right into Ethan's 5 hour surgery.

We are so grateful to Dr. Hawkins, his service to the "heart community" for all the time he spent being the best at what he did.

One morning after surgery, Dr. Hawkins made "rounds" and we were talking about how far this surgery had come in 20 years, he said 20 years ago babies with Ethan's condition were sent home to "be kept comfortable" until they failed. Now, they can go on to have normal, healthy lives. Dr. Hawkins noted that as much as he had learned what to do in the past 20 years of practicing, he knew what NOT TO DO, and that it was just as important as what he knew. I thought that was a remarkable statement.

The world is better because of Dr. John Hawkins.

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