Letter to Dr. Rathmann

Dear Dr. Rathmann –


On the drive home yesterday afternoon from your Morristown clinic, my wife Leonor commented that your manner and persona made her feel so comfortable interacting with you. Our son Richard said it could be the Kentuckian in you; his perception of people from the south is that they are, by and large, warm and affectionate.


To me a doctor analyzes test results, asks probing questions, listens to the patients’ answers, and together with all the classroom training and experiences to date, processes this information together to come up with an effective treatment approach and procedure.


I have tried to imagine what it was like for you at that time in the OR when my skull was open, with all the blood flowing, and while extricating most of the meningioma, you saw that some of it had attached itself to the big vein running from middle front of the brain to the middle back of the head / brain (I am paraphrasing what I heard you say). I wondered how your thought process went, to decide to avoid detaching what was attached to the vein, to preserve normal bodily functions.


Also, where you saw that the meningioma had eaten into part of the skull to decide on a titanium metal plate, not a mesh, of a particular shape and size to reinforce the weak area, to protect the brain, and to allow the skull bone to heal over time.


During such crossroads during major surgery, a doctor’s mind and hands could be said to be god-like, with powers to cause the preservation of life, or its destruction. I am not deifying doctors but close to it, because they make a difference in the arena of saving lives.


If you had been my ophthalmologist, my left eye glaucoma would have probably been detected earlier and optic nerve damage prevented, with no vision loss.
If you had been my orthopedic surgeon, my complaints about knee and hip joint pain would have been more properly addressed, and more effectively treated, to prevent surgery.


Thank you.


Best personal regards,
September 1, 2015