(May 25, 2018) Over the course of a remarkable career that
included graduating from the Air Force
Academy, obtaining three master's degrees, serving as flight physician
on the International Space Station for 141 days and practicing emergency medicine,
Kjell Lindgren, MD, developed a few guiding principles that he shared with 165
graduating medical students at the CU School of Medicine’s Hooding and Oath
A 2002 graduate of the University of Colorado School of
Medicine, Lindgren told the class of 2018 that he compressed what he'd learned
into "three tools for your medical kit.
"The great thing is you already have these," Lindgren, the invited guest speaker said at the ceremony on the Boettcher
Commons on the Anschutz Medical Campus. "You just didn't know it
School of Medicine Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, advised
graduates to prepare for a career geared toward continual learning because
medical knowledge is changing rapidly.
"This campus is a former Army base. Building 500 is the
former hospital, and in 1956 the president of the United States Dwight Eisenhower
had a heart attack, and he was admitted to this hospital. Treatment for a heart
attack at the time was six weeks of bed rest. The chance of President
Eisenhower dying while in the hospital was about 30 to 35 percent. Today under
that same scenario someone would probably be in the hospital for three days,
two days maybe. They would have their artery reopened … The in-hospital
mortality is one-tenth of when Eisenhower was president.”
Another example of the evolution of medicine can be seen in
the premature birth of a son to President John Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline.
"He was potentially the most powerful man in the world
and a member of one of richest families in America. They had a son born at 34
weeks and that child died and
was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I am happy to say I have twin
grandchildren born at 31 weeks, three and a half years ago, and, I'm totally
objective about this, but they are perfect.
"My message to our graduates is, though this is a
terminal degree, it is not the end of your life as a student. You will have to
re-learn medicine and medical science several times over the course of your
Associate Dean of Student Life Brian Dwinnell, MD, FACP,
noted that the graduating class impressed him with their compassion with
patients and with each other.
"I can say with all sincerity that I can only dream
that I was as service-oriented at the start of my career."
Class speaker Richard Froude, an author of three novels with
a fourth about to be released, spoke eloquently of the shared experiences
through medical school, from meeting each other during matriculation through
the struggle of the clinical years.
"We were there at the hardest times, missing the ones
we love most, realizing that maybe the relationship we brought to medical
school would not last .... We were there in cold stairwells crying into our
hands because the man with bright eyes we had taken care these last weeks was
gone and there was nothing, nothing at all, that anyone could have
Personalities changed through those years.
"Because we were here together, because we did these
things we put our faith in each other, we trusted each other with our lives ...
we have earned each other's trust. We go forth to do no harm, to meet our
patients where they are, to witness lives as they begin and as they end, to
diagnose the disease that will reshape lives."