I never had a big brother, but if I had, I would have wanted him to be exactly like Dean.

There was a time in my career when we were privileged to be co-CEOs of a brand new multi-specialty medical practice. We started out small and grew phenomenally over the next five years.

Dean came out of retirement to participate in this quest. He had been on the hospital’s board of directors and had been a very successful businessman and consultant. He had traveled all over the world in a Gulf Stream business jet.

Dean was unflappable. You could never tell when he was upset. I would have hated to play poker with him because he had no tells!

I was used to the here and now of emergency medicine and Dean had to throttle me back because I didn’t realize at the time that businesses weren’t run the way emergency medicine is practiced. One time we were in Atlanta on a recruitment trip for an ophthalmologist and checked into the Hilton in Atlanta. He called me after he got to his room and said not to unpack my bag, but to come up to his room because he was going to switch with me. The hotel had comped his room. It was a two-floor suite that went for over four thousand dollars a night.

It was unbelievable. He wanted me to stay in it because he had enjoyed accommodations like that all over the world and he wanted me to have a little taste of the good life. We didn’t have any commitments for another day and a half. I watched football on a huge screen, showered in a stall that would’ve accommodated twenty people, and had a killer view of downtown Atlanta from the 65th story.

I ordered a pizza and the delivery man asked me if I was in town on business. He seemed a little confused. Later, I realized he was trying to figure out who I was. Anyone who stayed in a room like that had to be someone famous!

Probably the most valuable thing Dean taught me was the importance of being prepared in whatever I was doing. He once told me he might not be the smartest person in the room, but he would be the best prepared.

I wish for you that you are fortunate enough to have had a Dean in your life.

Richard E. Draper, a double board-certified emergency medicine physician, blogger, and speaker, and practices in the Kaleidoscope Weekly distribution area. The Healer’s Heart is based on his perceptions and observations of his experiences in the ER over his career. Any similarities to actual patients are purely coincidental.

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