What I learned from dr. Taybi

“Before I ventured forth,

even while I was very young,

I sought wisdom openly in my prayer.” Ecciesiasticus 51:13

radiology of syndroms.jpg

As I say prayers today for refugees and those trying to immigrate to our country in face of the recent travel bans, I find the previous note from Dr. Hooshang Taybi from 2006 that was on Daily Something yesterday. It is written three weeks before he died in response to my note about the news of his terminal illness. If you are a radiologist or a pediatrician, you will remember Dr. Taybi, best known for his study of children with difficulties that become part of a syndrome. He was professionally noted for his encyclopedic memory of the more than 100 journals he read leading to his classic textbook, The Radiology of Syndromes; but what I most remember is his kindness, humbleness, and caring for others, empowering others, never too important to spend time with you.

A colleague shares a phrase from Dr. Taybi’s favorite Persian poem, “The best way to show your gratitude for having a strong arm is to extend a helping hand to the weak.”1

I see a life of a brilliant man who close to his death still expresses gratitude for those who helped him over 50 years before. Dr. Taybi empowers us still today by telling stories, stories of children with illnesses, stories of how he was empowered, gratitude for all who touched his life even to the end. I continue to see daily the difference gratitude can make in a person’s life. Today I will try to remember and give thanks for those who empowered me and pray that I can pass empowerment and gratitude on to others. I also want to remember Dr. Taybi’s story of what a difference the strangers who helped him made in his life. I hope to try to do this for those who come to our country like Dr. Taybi for a new life.

I also remember that if the present travel ban had been in place, Dr. Taybi would never have come to his America. I think of all of us whose lives would not have been touched by his, but especially the children and their parents who would have missed his medical expertise.

1Ron Cohen, Charles Gooding, “Memorial Hooshang Taybi,” in AJR, 187:1382-1383, 2006.

Joanna joannaseibert.com