Happy Father’s day to all of the Dads. Being a Father to Mirabelle and Reece is one of the single greatest blessings in my life. I give thanks every day that I get to be their Dad.
I’m thinking of my Dad today, who is no longer with us, but whose spirit and example are with me every day. I marvel at what Dad did. Leaving Iran to come to America, inspired by our ideals, all by himself, not knowing a single person here. He landed at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh for his Surgical Residency, met Mom, a nurse anesthetist, the love of his life, and dedicated himself to healing.
Dad had a great gift for healing, often saving lives, when people thought it was impossible to do so. He also committed himself to treating all patients who sought his care whether or not they had insurance or could afford to pay him. His office had universal affordable health care, long before it was federal policy. He felt if he could help try to save a life, he had a moral obligation to do so. Dad also had extraordinary standards of excellence and dedication. He made rounds seven days a week, going to see his patients on Saturdays and Sundays. I once asked him why and he responded: “Son, if I have a patient in the hospital and they or their family members have a question or concern, I want to make sure they know I’m available and make sure they get all of the care they need. I also need to see personally they are progressing well.” Over the course of his career Dad managed to care for about 20,000 people.
Dad had more integrity than anyone I have ever known. He never once compromised his core principles or beliefs, even when it cost him professionally. I will never forget when the Trustees of Catholic Medical Center (CMC), (where Dad based his practice and served on the Board), and the Trustees of the Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH, voted to merge the two hospitals and close Catholic Medical Center, Dad was among a very small group who opposed the merger. He knew it would be bad for the patients and the city — he believed in competition and wanted to make sure that everyone had access to the best possible care, especially the lower income residents of Manchester’s West Side who would have to travel across town to the Elliot Hospital. Dad also expressed concerns that some of the Trustees would financially benefit at the cost of the people the hospitals were meant to serve. The merger was approved, but Dad didn’t stop fighting, even though his own practice was threatened and he lost business from fewer referrals. CMC started to close, but Dad and a few of his friends kept up the fight, launching a petition for the NH Attorney general to launch an investigation. Eventually the Attorney General did and discovered that Dad was right. There was double dealing going on, the citizens of Manchester would lose care, and the merger was cancelled. Without Dad standing on principle, and leading a lonely fight for what was right, Catholic Medical Center — now the number one hospital for Heart Surgery in New Hampshire (also thanks to Dad because he convinced them to open the cardiac unit with the help of his brother, my Uncle Hassan, who was a cardiac surgeon, but that is another story…) would have closed permanently.
Dad is my most important role model to this day and he always will be.
The clarity of your commitment to serve and the integrity of your mission has and will always be the north star for me. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.