By Mr. Ramee Opperude (Regional Health Command Pacific)April 10, 2018
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (Feb. 10, 2018) -- To an audience of coworkers, mentors and family, Dr. Ralph Hartman, family medicine physician, USAHC-SB shared his career- long experiences and recent cancer diagnosis at the Main Post Chapel on Feb. 10, 2018.
Dr. Hartman was being recognized for his 31 year career in medicine and dedication to the Department of the Army shared some of his lessons learned to an attentive audience of clinic staff, family and friends.
The message began with the usual thanks to the command and his family for flying in but his words quickly took on a vehement tone. Dr. Hartman shared his reaction after being notified by his urologist and subsequent prostate cancer diagnosis.
"I went home and told my wife Sally. We hugged and cried, and then did the same with my cousin Chip and his wife, Mari. I set my alarm for 5 a.m. to go to work as usual. In the middle of the night, I realized that I could not show up and focus on my patients' needs, so I called in sick", said Hartman.
Dr. Hartman went on to describe an approach of 'caring for the caregiver' with the audience. This gave way to some new topics which had surfaced since his cancer diagnosis; miracles, choices and relationships.
He detailed several examples of miracles, choices and relationships, and then Hartman asked the crowd, "Am I making this decision based on love or fear?"
As Hartman prepared to close his address, the audience was clearly moved and emotional. His journey had clearly changed him spiritually.
"Keep your eyes open for miracles and your heart open for love," said Hartman. "You will get much more satisfaction from this holy work if you practice medicine from the heart and with an attitude of serving." "Remember that this U.S. Army Health Clinic is an ohana, and treat our patients as family," added Hartman.
"I feel so privileged and honored to have spent my career in this ohana. I was surprised and taken aback by how difficult and emotional it was for me to turn in my military id and CAC card. It made me realize just how immensely proud I have been to be a Department of Army civilian, serving those who serve," concluded Hartman.
Dr. Ralph Hartman received the Commanders Award for Civilian Service following his address at the monthly USAHC-SB Town Hall.