Conversations: EPISODE 2

A Conversation With Dr. Lewis Goldfrank That I Will Cherish for the Remainder of My Life

March 30, 2020

Today’s conversation has been a long time in the making. 

There is no justice I can do in this introduction to Dr. Lewis Goldfrank that would convey the impact he has had not only on me, but on the world.

Dr. Goldfrank is the former chairman of the department of emergency medicine at New York University and Bellevue hospital, the nation’s first public hospital. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is widely considered one of the founders of emergency medicine and medical toxicology. 

He has authored countless scientific articles, won numerous prestigious awards and is the editor of the most recognized medical toxicology book in the world, Goldfrank’s Toxicology, now in its 11th edition. 

I can say that every decision I make, literally every decision, is influenced by the teachings of Dr. Goldfrank. 

And I know this is also the case for anyone who has ever spent time with him.

Dr. Goldfrank is a positive force in so many ways. He is one of those rare people who lives the ideals he embodies.  

When Dr. Goldfrank speaks, people gather to listen. And then they are inspired to act. 

“Perhaps his greatest influence,” said Rama Rao, a mentor of mine and fellow emergency medicine physician, “has been to teach us that to become a better physician, you need only to devote yourself to one task: becoming a better person. The rest, it seems, will follow.” 

Dr. Goldfrank has been at the helm through many disasters, such as 9/11, the AIDS crisis, crack, cocaine, and opioid crises, and tuberculosis epidemics, hurricane Sandy, and so many more. 

He is a champion for the homeless and fervently believes in the worth of every single human being, which is the principle that has guided his life.

Instead of trying to give you a preview of everything we spoke about in this interview, I am simply going to say, this is the most intimate, detailed conversation that I have ever heard Dr. Goldfrank engage in. 

It is motivating, inspiring, and one that I will cherish for the remainder of my life. 

There is an exchange in Chapter 5 of Through the Looking-Glass, a famous children’s novel by Lewis Caroll, it goes like this:  

The Queen says, “I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.”

“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said, “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Dr. Goldfrank helps you believe in impossible things. And often turns the impossible into possible. 

By Adam Rosh

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