by Alan Willett

“It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.” 

— Bruce Springsteen, Badlands

This Thursday in the United States is our Thanksgiving holiday. This holiday means many things for many people.  For me, this is a week of conscious gratitude.

Today, I want to thank the engineers and scientists who have advanced the state of our healthcare. Many people who would have died without the advancements those engineers made consider that point onwards as their second life.

Doctors washing their hands is a small example. This does not seem like a significant technological breakthrough. However, the enormous benefit of hand washing was brought about by profound scientific insights at the microscopic level and the accurate use of statistics.

Many people who would have died owe their second lives to the simple act of washing hands before surgery.

Let’s consider a quick list of other breakthroughs: heart surgery, minimally-invasive robotically-assisted surgery, cancer treatments, antibiotics, air-lifts for critical patients, anesthetics, advances in sanitation, radiology, organ transplants, and so many more.

I once was sitting with a circle of friends. It turned out that all of us had stories where we suddenly realized that we were experiencing our second, third or more lives due to the miracles brought forth by the people dedicated to advancing state-of-the-art healthcare.

As Bruce Springsteen sang, “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”

Enjoy your Thanksgiving week, wherever in the world you are.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett