Paying Tribute to an Honoree
They say that actions speak more than words. It only follows that if you want to judge a man's character, you look at more than what he says; you look at what he does. Dr. Mark Allen knew that to make a new pediatrics intensive care facility a reality, it would take more than words, so he personally took action. He knew that sitting around complaining about the hospital's lack of resources, or repeatedly making demands of the board of directors would not be enough to bring that new facility to fruition. So, he personally raised the funds to make it happen. Today, we honor Dr. Mark Allen for those tireless efforts. But we also pay tribute to him for much more. We pay tribute to the fine doctor, colleague, and friend he has shown himself to be time and time again, through his words and his actions.
Do you want to know what kind of a person Mark Allen is? I'll tell you a story that will show you what kind of a person he is. When I was a young pediatrics intern at this hospital many years ago, Dr. Allen was the first resident I was assigned to. On my very first day of work, I had a fender-bender on the way to the hospital and, as a result, showed up more than thirty minutes late. Having heard all kinds of nightmarish stories about how the residents could come down on the interns for the slightest of infractions, I came to the hospital prepared to be seriously chewed out. Instead, Dr. Allen, hearing about the accident, expressed genuine concern about how I was. Then he called his mechanic and arranged to have my car picked up and repaired. But he did more than that. At the end of the shift, he drove me home. And he picked me up the next day, and drove me home the next night. He drove me back and forth to work every day until my car was fixed.
Now that I've gotten to know him much better, I realize that his kind treatment of me that day is typical of his interactions with all the doctors, nurses, and patients in this hospital. I learned that day that Dr. Mark Allen is that rare kind of doctor who, in an age when doctors are too often stereotyped as cold, self-involved automatons, genuinely likes working with other people and, without making a big deal of it, without having to be asked, will often go out of his way to do a favor for someone or help them out when they're in need.
You want to know what kind of a doctor Mark Allen is? Ask the nurses who work here. They'll tell you, as they told me when I asked them that question earlier this week, that he's the kind of doctor who not only knows them all by name, but always remembers their birthdays with a card and flowers.
What kind of a doctor is Mark Allen? Ask his patients. They'll tell you he's the kind of doctor who expresses sincere interest in who they are, taking the time to chat about their likes and hobbies, to talk about the latest popular movie or TV show. One patient told me that Dr. Allen, after learning that her favorite author is Charles Dickens, brought her his copy of
What kind of doctor is Mark Allen? Ask his colleagues, the other doctors who work in this hospital. They'll tell you he's the kind of doctor they admire, the one who sets a standard for a certain kind of conscientious patient care they strive to match. I know that's certainly been the case with myself. I can say with utmost confidence that I wouldn't be the doctor I am today were it not for his fine example that I have made it my personal goal to emulate.
Talk to his colleagues, the nurses, and his patients, and they'll tell you what kind of doctor Mark Allen is. But if you want to see what kind of person he is, look at his actions and what those actions have achieved — a glorious new facility that is helping save hundreds of children's lives. For achieving that, for being a man of action, we pay tribute today, just as we honor him for being the caring, compassionate, and inspiring figure who we have the great privilege of working with each day.