Friday, October 19, 2012

65 years and counting: Ether Day celebrates longtime employees


‘IRREPLACEABLE’ MGHers: Employees celebrate Ether Day.


Proudly donning MGH shield pins and multicolored ribbons indicating their years of service, longtime employees gathered in the Bulfinch Tent Oct. 12 for Ether Day. The annual event – held on the Friday closest to the anniversary of the first successful demonstration of ether in surgery at the MGH on Oct. 16, 1846 – celebrates the service milestones of employees in increments of five years. This year, 3,437 pins and ribbons were distributed.

After honorees enjoyed a brief reception, Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, offered his congratulations. “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your years of dedication and service to the noble mission of this hospital.” Jeff Davis, senior vice president for Human Resources, acknowledged employees celebrating milestones in groups until he reached 40 years. He then read names individually, ending with Morton Swartz, MD, of the Department of Medicine, who celebrates a record 65 years in 2012. In what has become an MGH tradition, the Ether Day dancers performed to top songs from the years when employees celebrating milestones would have joined the hospital, starting with 2007.

“Even though you’ve only been here for five years, which may not be long by MGH standards, you are ‘Irreplaceable’ – which was a hit song by Beyonce in 2007,” said Davis. On cue, Beyonce’s voice crooned from the speakers and the Ether Day dancers appeared on stage in themed costumes. The troupe performed to more than a dozen hits – ranging from “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston to “All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley.

Those celebrating milestones of 20 years or more were invited to celebrate once again Oct. 18 at the annual Ether Day Dinner at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. To view a complete list of employees recognized this year, visit

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