Some 2,000 years ago, Horace wrote, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents; which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” The beautiful essay that Ellen Thomason, MD, MPH, FACS, has written from her heart brings to light the meaning of the words of this Roman poet. I had the privilege of participating in Dr. Thomason’s training in the department of surgery at the University of Washington, Seattle, and later of seeing her grow as a respected surgeon—one who served her community with passion and the Washington Chapter of the American College of Surgeons with enthusiasm, energy, and wit. I always thought she was an example of success and took pride in the fact that she graduated from our program.
This essay shows that there is always a bright side to things, even tragedy. There is always a chance to improve, and no matter how good you are as a surgeon and a person, you can always do better for yourself and the community you serve.