It is with joy and sadness that I go into retirement from my surgery practice of over 33 years. I will be trading in my scrubs for bib overalls, the operating room for working in my yard, patient care for hanging out with our cocker spaniels and family. We accomplished over 20,000 surgeries that included many groundbreaking and first procedures for Loudoun County and our region. It has been gratifying that patients have traveled long distances to see me for their surgical care. That includes Dubai, Germany, and closer to home Virginia Beach, Front Royal, Charlottesville, Shenandoah Valley, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Maryland.
There are hundreds of care givers I was honored to work with who are dedicated to providing quality care in ‘their’ community. Not only doctors but more importantly the first lines of care are rescue and nurses. They can never get enough credit or praise. Don’t forget mid-level providers – nurse practitioners, surgical assists, radiology and lab technicians, sterile supply, housekeeping and many more. We are all a piece of the puzzle that leads to providing safe and quality healthcare. Doctors, like quarterbacks, tend to get most of the credit for a win. The best healthcare comes from a team commitment to quality in a hospital or office setting. Quality can be defined many ways but typically comes from hard work, preparation, and attention to detail. I have long believed in a quote from runner Steve Prefontaine- “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” I have tried to give my best day and night for my community with numerous positive outcomes. As a perfectionist I also have to carry the burden of the comparative small number of losses. The losses haunt for years and weigh on your heart. When decisions are based on providing the same care to patients as you would for family, it is tough when it doesn’t work out. The positive patient feedback and caring support of my wife and family have allowed me to carry on.
I also wish to sincerely thank the doctors and staff that supported my practice referring their patients for surgical care, including those in active practice, retired and some we have lost to time. The greatest compliment comes from patients’ who have recommended to other family members to see me for surgical care and consultation. To know you have their trust in your recommendation and surgical expertise is a great honor. My greatest joy has always been to care for 3 generations of the same family.
The unsung hero for my success is my wife, Nan. She has always been there for me and never complained. You name it and I’ve missed it – dance recitals, birthday parties, funerals, holiday times, soccer games and dinners with extended family. I couldn’t count the number of times I called home saying I would be home for dinner only to get held up by another emergency. When I did get home, dinner would be covered in the refrigerator and her only response the next day would be “is everything alright.” So, the real foundation of my success has been my best friend and wife of over 41 years. She has allowed me to be committed to my craft and patients and held the family together.
So, thank you again Loudoun, maybe we will run into each other at Costco. I will miss you.
~ C. Bernard Cross, M.D., F.A.C.S.