San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

Ability and Empathy by President-Elect Candidate Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D., FACS

Ability and Empathy

Over the years, I have always admired the fundamental goal of the CMA to support our fellow physicians so that we can care for our patients, especially for those patients most in need.


The ability and empathy to care for those most in need always bring back a vivid memory of a dying, emaciated Filipino man who was too sick to undergo surgery. His tearful eight-year-old son begged the surgeon for any solution. The initially hesitant surgeon was inspired by this little boy’s resilience and attempted a novel approach. Hours later, the exhausted but elated surgeon returned to comfort the family with a ray of hope. The surgeon held the little boy’s arm and caringly told him that his father would live! The effect on the boy was profound and lasting. I was so inspired by the valiant efforts of this kind and empathetic surgeon, an action that eventually led to positive events rippling through several subsequent generations. It has inspired me in so many aspects of my career and has given me a life’s mission.


Just as that scared little boy continues to be grateful for a second chance at life for his father, so too am I thankful for my career. My greatest motivation, both in my career and in my life, is to give back to the profession of medicine, which has generously given so much to me and my family. This has been my motivation to continuously, and tirelessly, devote my time and resources not only to my clinical career but also to health care policy and organized medicine. I have since had the privilege of serving in leadership positions in the US Public Health Service, academic institutions, numerous hospital medical staffs, the AMA and, most proudly, the CMA.


While I have broad and in-depth leadership experiences that have guided me in my life's mission, it is my heart and passion to give back, that have inspired me. The CMA’s fundamental goal is to support our fellow physicians so that we can care for our patients. This is what I will fight for on your behalf like no other. For me this goal is personal.


I humbly ask for your vote for CMA President-Elect.


Peter N. Bretan M.D., FACS
Bio Video:

Twitter: @BretanMD

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