A Lighthearted History of Doctors' Day
Published on Mar 30, 2020. Updated on Sep 15, 2020.
Doctors' Day is today, March 30! There’s never been a better time to celebrate the hard work, dedication and selflessness of doctors—and all health professionals, for that matter—around the world. Today, in honor of physicians and clinicians everywhere, let’s take a moment to look back at the (somewhat humorous) history of Doctors' Day, and learn how you can carry on the tradition today!
How did Doctors' Day start?
The O.G. Doctors' Day kicked off way back in 1933, but the stage for this notable holiday (and the whole reason for the March 30 date) was set almost a century before.
On March 30, 1842, Dr. Crawford Williamson Long successfully performed the first surgery (a cystectomy) involving the use of ether to numb a patient’s pain. Interestingly, Dr. Long stumbled upon ether’s analgesic properties while hosting an “ether frolic party”, an old-timey social gathering where people got together and had fun by inhaling sulfuric ether (for science, of course). Watching his friends falling and stumbling around under the effects of the ether and suffering seemingly no injuries, Dr. Long theorized that it could be used to numb the effects of pain—which turned out to be true!
Flash forward to 1933: Eudora Brown Almond was searching for a way to honor the professional achievements of her husband, Dr. Charles B. Almond. Perhaps finding the story of Dr. Long as amusing as we do, she decided to honor Dr. Long’s venerable scientific discovery by calling for the community of Winder, Georgia (where she and her husband lived) to usher in the very first Doctors' Day.
On March 30, 1933, a dinner was held in honor of doctors past and present. Guests were encouraged to shower her husband and his doctorly colleagues with gifts, cards, and adoration, and the graves of physicians past were decorated with flowers and festivity. If you ever find yourself in Winder, Georgia, you can carry on the tradition by paying your respects at Dr. Almond’s grave (and don’t forget to thank Mrs. Almond for starting this whole tradition, too!)
Doctors' Day was formally signed into the US holiday calendar on October 30, 1990.
A message for clinicians
We’d like to take a moment to thank all the clinicians on the Osmosis Content team, including our Editorial Board and Contributors. Thank you for the thoughtful, compassionate work you do to empower the world’s current and future clinicians and caregivers with the best learning experience possible. You all truly start with the heart.
We would also like to pay tribute to doctors around the world who are reaching further to have our backs and slow the spread of COVID-19. It is essential that we #RaiseTheLine to ensure you can continue to do this work in the best possible conditions. We will continue to do whatever we can to support you.
Send a small thank-you to a doctor with a Spread Joy eCard
Bringing the original Doctors' Day tradition of sending a letter into the 21st century, one small way you can express your gratitude to a physician is by sending an Osmosis Spread Joy eCard. We have many designs to choose from—including a selection of Doctors' Day cards!—and sending one is completely free when you create an account.