We’ve all heard “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well, if that holds true, then Paul Seville, MD, MBI, CPHIMS, has super strength. A urological surgeon turned medical informatics expert, Dr. Paul has survived FIVE brushes with death. Here’s a quick run-down:
- Malpractice. A pediatrician’s erroneous medical judgment led to a severe chronic kidney infection; rendering Dr. Paul to lose both healthy kidneys and be subjected for years to dialysis.
- Surgery. In 6th grade, he received a cadaveric kidney from a motorcyclist’s death.
- Surgery. Once the first donated kidney reached its longevity, his sister donated her kidney to him.
- Car Crash. A speeding, drunk, uninsured, twice-deported illegal resident crashed into Dr. Paul’s car head-on while he was driving around a corner, placing him in the hospital for a couple of days as he urinated blood.
- Bike Accident/Brain Surgery. The ecologically conscious doctor was bicycling to work with his helmet on, when something happened to the bike and he ended up head first onto the pavement. He had 2” by 3” of his skull removed to suction out the coagulated blood that was pushing the left side of his brain towards the right, and now has titanium filling the rectangular space.
Dr. Paul is one of the several medical doctors who have endorsed the newest Leadership Development program created by Corporate Looking Glass, LLC, which is Blue Health™. While he currently resides in Portland, Oregon, he is originally from the only Blue Zone in the USA, Loma Linda, California. He read my blog 10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #7 DETERMINATION, and recognized how he leads with determination.
One of the amusing stories he shared with me is how he was conducting rounds as a hospitalist, and entered a room where the adult daughter of a patient was angrily waiting. “My father has gone through a lot of pain, and you have NO idea what he has gone through!” she yelled at Dr. Paul. He calmly addressed her concerns about her father’s post-op care. She continued to rant about her presupposed belief of Dr. Paul’s inability to relate to her father’s condition. Formerly ashamed of the long scars Dr. Paul’s surgeons left on his sides (#1 above) when he was a small boy, he opened his white lab coat, lifted his shirt, and revealed the monstrously large cicatrix – which appear as though he was sliced open from front to back on both sides…only because he was. He answered, “I know what your father is going through, because I went through it myself. And, multiple times.”
How many doctors can say that? How many doctors have been on both ends of the knife?
Furthermore, how many of us can say we get back up on our feet to serve others when we could be consumed with our personal needs? Former Vietnam Prisoner of War (POW) General Admiral James Stockdale said, “Self-realization cannot be achieved without service to the community.” Dr. Paul no longer practices surgery, but continues to serve others with his expertise at WebMD.
Stockdale: “The pre-Socratic Heraclitus said the development of the heart has to do with the capacity to face and experience reality. The capacity for that experience is also the capacity for courage. The heart wills, it is the seat of conscience, it introduces purpose.” (See blog on Purpose).
Dr. Paul championed many years of childhood taunts, only to be the bully’s champion in the operating room. Epictetus (the ancient Greek philosopher): Difficulties are what show men’s character.
When asked how Dr. Paul feels about the mistake his surgeons made when he was a little boy, he echoes Epictetus: “It is unthinkable that one man’s error could cause another’s suffering. There can be no such thing as being the ‘victim’ of another. You can only be a victim of yourself. It’s all how you discipline your mind.”
New Year is not the only time when you can begin anew.
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. We increase retention. Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.
© Rossina Gil, 2015
Stockdale, Jim. Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot.