Dr. Bailey's Farewell Address to TMA House of Delegates

TMA House of Delegates
8 a.m., Thursday, May 13, 2004
Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 4
Charles W. Bailey Jr., MD, TMA President
Farewell remarks  

Who are we?

Who are physicians?

We did not choose medicine as a career because it would be easy.
We made none of our choices in this voyage through life because they would be easy. Academic challenges and competition for limited slots in medical school are daunting.

The time commitment for a medical education and subsequent training are unparalleled.

In short, physicians are up to challenges, not intimidated by obstacles. We are willing to work tirelessly to achieve our goals and maintain our principles.

What other profession enjoys the trust and respect of so many people?

Our patients come to us when they are sick or injured. They are scared and vulnerable.

We listen to them, lay our hands on them, and show our interest and our concern. We are able to explain to them their condition and what might be done. We convey credibility, knowledge, and compassion.

In return, these patients place their trust in us and their welfare. … Sometimes, their very lives.

I feel in recent years the intrusions into medical practices by government and regulatory agencies … combined with financial burdens of managed care, Medicare, and Medicaid … have caused many of us to forget who we really are.

We are strong, principled, compassionate, and very privileged individuals.

I believe this past year presented challenges that awakened the doctors of Texas. We were poked with one sharp stick too many.

We called upon those traits that brought us to this profession. The patients whose trust and gratitude we invoked gave back and came to our support.

We faced heavy odds with opponents who have devoted their entire lives to developing the art of persuasion. They were crafty and experienced and won over many voters with their half-truths and misleading information.

We conveyed our humanity … our credibility and our concern for patients.
We did not give up. It was Déjà vu all over again.

Our tangible victory with tort reform, though, was almost secondary to what the struggle itself did for our profession.

The apathy of beaten-down physicians was overcome. Doctors worked together. The battlefield reinforced old bonds and revived our can-do spirit.

Students and young physicians saw doctors in their finest hour. They joined in our efforts, and the long-standing generation gap narrowed.

The Alliance-TMA relationship grew to an all-time high.

Where do we go from here?

Let us be proud of our profession and ourselves. Let us remember how important we are in the lives of so many people.

Let us cherish the noneconomic rewards of trust, love, and knowing we can improve the lives of our patients. No corporation … no government agency can ever take that away from us.

The same can be said of the battlefield bonds and friendships with our colleagues.

Let us continue to narrow the generation gap with students and young physicians … through organized medicine and by being strong advocates for Graduate Medical Education.

Let us continue to strengthen our bonds with TMA members along the Mexican border and in the remote areas of our state.

The closer our profession becomes, the more we can accomplish. We must not be divided by outside influences.

The Family of Medicine is an incredible group of individuals, a group I am very proud to call my own.

Thank you.

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