Paul Bourguignon, MD. (1990 & 1994 Med School)
Dept. of Surgery Chairman, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, New London, CT
I’m a surgeon in Connecticut and Chairman of our Department of Surgery. I rowed at UCD 1988-90. Graduated from Davis in 1990 and completed med school at UCD in 1994. Our hospital is about 2 hrs east of New York City.
We, along with the rest of the nation, have had to curtail ‘elective surgery’ to decrease exposure of our staff to the virus and also to preserve hospital resources for those stricken with the disease. Of course, we still do urgent and emergent surgeries and bedside procedures, taking every precaution to keep the patients and staff safe. Fortunately, even though we are only 2 hrs east of NYC, we have not been overrun with Covid 19 patients. Our ICUs filled up, but we never had to surge critical care patients beyond the ICU as so many of our sister facilities had to do. For us now, the worst seems to have passed. Currently, we are making plans to reopen our facility to more elective procedures. The backlog, after 2 months of very limited surgery, is quite large. We are anticipating a very busy summer as we switch into catch up mode.
How rowing crew helped prepare me for career and life:
General surgeons work long and unpredictable hours. The illnesses we treat—trauma, appendicitis, incarcerated hernias, bowel perforation—often require immediate interventions and often late into the night. The next day, fatigue is invariably present. This was especially true during surgical residency when we were working 80-100 hrs/week. I’m certain that my years rowing with UCD helped prepare me for this. Anyone who has rowed crew in college knows that this was our norm. I remember many late nights in Shields library, studying until near midnight, then getting up at 5am to be on the water at the Port of Sacramento by 6 and back in class by 8. The days were grueling, but undeniably rewarding because we knew we were in it together. Hard work, efficiency and camaraderie forged a unified crew, many members of which keep in close touch to this day. Similarly, our healthcare team works all hours of day and night in the common goal of providing the best possible care to our patients. Just like in my days with UCD crew, Hard work, efficiency and camaraderie continue to drive us forward in our mission.
UCD, Go Ags!