“Both my father and grandfather were unflappable people,”
[Dr. Davis] added. “I never saw either of them lose their
temper or fly off the handle. My dad always said that you are
the person you are when the chips are down in the OR.”
get a job as a surgeon.” A surgical profession was
the preferred route for the young man. “My dad
would often say that not being a surgeon is like
trying to practice medicine with your hands tied
behind your back,” he said.
Paul Davis has only positive memories of
his namesake, Dr. Paul Kunkel. “My grandfather was bigger than life. He was a farmer who
went to college at 16. He was a genius of a guy,”
“Both my father and grandfather were unflap-
pable people,” he added. “I never saw either of
them lose their temper or fly off the handle. My
dad always said that you are the person you are
when the chips are down in the OR.”
Both men had a sense of sacred responsi-
bility with respect to patients. “That was the
driving force of their lives,” said the younger
Dr. Davis. “They took their jobs very seriously.
I’d like to think I am carrying on that legacy.”
In many ways, he is. Dr. Paul Davis regularly
travels to Nigeria to render cardiac surgical care
to the indigenous populations.
Each family’s story is unique, but they all reveal
the powerful influence one generation of surgeons has on the next. All of the surgeons profiled
in this story had the good fortune of growing up
in homes with mentors who watched and guided
their growth and development on the path to successful surgical careers.
“It’s the example that parents live that sets the
stage for the young person trying to find life’s
meaning,” Dr. Hoyt said. “I sometimes think
that imparting those positive values to our
young people is the biggest challenge we face as
a society.” ♦
Dr. Paul Davis (right) with his late father, Dr. William Davis, and a
portrait (in the background, left) of Dr. Paul Augustine Kunkel.