Mercy Hospital Observes Doctors’ Day

March 14, 2012

Randy Nichols, MD, (right) physician with

Mercy Clinic, has been caring for patients like

Glenn Smith (left) in the Fort Scott area

for 30 years.

In honor of physicians, Mercy Hospital will host several activities between March 26-March 30 designed to allow patients and Mercy co-workers to get to know the clinic physicians in a different light.

“Mercy has celebrated Doctors’ Day for decades, shared Annamarie Holmes, Mercy Clinic Director. “We always look forward to recognizing the physicians for their dedication to helping care for the people of the communities where Mercy serves.”

As a young woman in the early 1800s Catherine McAuley, Sisters of Mercy Foundress, did everything in her power to care for the abused or homeless women and children on the streets of Dublin, Ireland. In 1832, Catherine and the Sisters were the only ones to step forward and help the quarantined sick, including those suffering from Cholera.

Throughout the mid-1800s, Catherine’s Ministry continued to grow and flourish.  By 1850, her ministry had expanded into the Midwest.  In 1886, Sisters of Mercy opened a 12 bed hospital in Fort Scott.

Stories of physicians’ outstanding commitment and life-changing work have shaped the model of care for Mercy physicians.  The right physician can make all the difference in a patient’s life as referenced in this story told by Gordon Parks about Dr. Gordon Baldwin, Mercy Hospital’s first physician. 

I was born dead.  But a young White doctor plunged my blood-soaked remains into a tub of icy water and miraculously gave me life.  With determination he had disallowed even death to defeat me.  Years later, when told about the event by an older sister, I went to give him my thanks. But by then he was dead.  My mother had expressed her gratitude to him by giving me his name.  Dr. Gordon was the savior whose color had nothing to do with his giving me, a Black child, a right to life.

- Excerpt from A Hungry Heart, a Gordon Parks autobiography

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933 in Winder, Ga. Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, decided to set aside a day to honor physicians, according to Internet references. This first observance included mailing greeting cards and placing flowers on graves of deceased doctors. Red carnations are commonly used as the symbolic flower for National Doctors’ Day, says.

On March 30, 1958, a resolution commemorating Doctors’ Day was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1990, legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to establish a national Doctors’ Day. Following overwhelming approval by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, on Oct. 30, 1990, then-President George Bush signed S.J. RES. No. 366, which became Public Law 101-473, designating March 30 as "National Doctors’ Day," the site said.

Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit

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