Really Nice Clothes
by Frank L. Iber, MD
A new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, which prevented bone and joint destruction, was reported in the medical journals. The treatment came from a large California private rheumatology practice. This treatment was skeptically approached by our rheumatology staff; they were awaiting further confirmation.
We received an offer from the pharmaceutical firm which made the drugs that were used in this new treatment. The firm offered to bring the leader of this group to our university, to present and discuss this important innovative work. The treatment rather amazingly seemed to stop the progression of this disease! I immediately accepted the offer.
I approached the university doctors who determined who would appear in their weekly education. This program was not accepted because the presenter lacked academic appointments as a measure of credibility.
Our affiliated Veterans Administration (VA) hospital had no such concerns. Several open dates were offered and one was accepted. The coming presentation at the VA hospital, located adjacent to the university, was widely advertised throughout the university, and there was great interest.
The VA auditorium seated about 300, including the 50 trainees permanently staffing the VA. These men and women obtained their MD degrees almost uniformly at international sites outside the USA, but they worked diligently on their training. Upon completion, most returned to their home countries.
We scheduled this lecture two times so as to accommodate the large group who would attend. On the morning of our guest’s first of two lectures, he met me 30 minutes before the presentation. We met in the front of our auditorium to make sure he understood the projection equipment. That would assure the smooth flow of his talk. He completed this instruction quickly and then had a few minutes of light conversation with me as the auditorium filled with the keen audience.
His striking, well-fitted, stylish and quite modern clothing stood out. I commented enthusiastically, in an admiring manner, on how nice he looked. He was pleased. He proudly told me that his suits were all tailored in England, his shirts were handmade in Paris, and his shoes were crafted in Italy. He then proudly showed his striking and totally appropriate necktie. He pointed out that this was made specifically for him in a tiny shop in Paris.
At this point, one of the residents sitting in the back spoke up and said loudly, “No, they aren’t!” Our astonished guest looked at this young man and asked, “What do you mean?” The resident said, “My family makes those ties in Iran. We make only two of each pattern, but we supply them to nine shops throughout the world.” Our well-dressed doctor then asked further, “How can you be so sure of that?” Our young doctor then described in accurate detail the label inside the tie. In addition, he noted that the folds of the tie were fastened in place by a red thread visible only from the back. Our guest was again astonished that this was so.
Over the remainder of the day, as we talked, neither of us could quite fathom this remarkable coincidence. We had discussed his clothing. Amazingly, the young doctor overheard our conversation and told of his family that made the tie in Iran. The adage, “It’s a small world,” certainly applied to this serendipity.
The presentation was highly informative and offered to a packed audience. It must also be carefully noted that the speaker’s lecture totally changed the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis at our university and VA hospital.
After the lecture, the speaker asked to meet the young doctor and to learn more about his family’s business.
One month later, our speaker phoned me to obtain our resident’s phone number. He had just received two unique ties from the family in Iran and was grateful.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
About the author:
Dr. Iber is a retired gastroenterologist, a specialist in diseases of the liver. He has written widely and taught extensively. He maintains many active interests in addition to his profession, including the travels of Lewis & Clark. He loves dogs, woods walks, and flowers. “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” He is a riveting storyteller. He and his wife live in suburban Baltimore MD.
Top: Lecture hall at the Conference Center, Sheppard Pratt Health System,
Microphone on a stand: www.freepik.com
3 men in fine suits: www.freepik.com
Astonished face: www.iconfinder.com
Frank Iber: RLG
Fancy paisley silk tie: Nordstrom Men's Shop: www.jojo25.com
Blue silk tie: www.jojo25.com
This essay was first published in “The Broadmead Journal of Poetry and Prose,” Fall, 2018, pp. 29-30.
Tags: #AcademicLectures #clothing #neckties #surprises
Sometimes progress in healthcare must be forced forward by those with the greatest insight, hindsight, foresight, and passion for their work. Frank Iber has those essential characteristics. His professional reputation supports this view.