Ether Day, a tradition started in 1945, is a day to recognize MGHfC and Mass General staff for their years of service to patients and the hospital's overall mission. Learn more about what MGHfC means to some of those providers and staff.
Verne Caviness, MD, DPhil
Pediatric Neurology, 55 years of service
"Fifty-five years at MGHfC and Mass General since my internship have flowed by for me with scarcely the perception of signal events or changes. From my first days here, I and my fellow interns were 'MGH docs.' Of course, there have been punctuation marks highlighting the text of my years here – residency, military service, years of research and staff appointment. But along the way, there came the opportunity of a large involvement with children. With this came the special intensity and wonder of child medicine - that very special world at the outset of life. The hospital experience ranges pervasively and deeply throughout our life experience and it is a privilege to be involved in the lives the children, parents and all who come here. I and every physician who has shared the privilege to live a part of their life here has been shaped by what it has meant to be 'an MGH doc.'"
Pediatric Hospital Medicine, 10 years of service
"I trained at MGHfC. This is my home. I have learned from the best and now I have a hand in training the next generation of pediatricians.There is no greater privilege. MGHfC has taught me what it means to be truly patient and family-centered. I work with incredible people across all disciplines to take the very best care of our patients and we all share the same mission. It is an environment rich with innovation, collaboration, knowledge and friendship – the very best combination."
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, 15 years of service
"For me, MGHfC has given me the opportunity to learn from amazing faculty as a trainee and benefit from the expertise of my colleagues as a staff member. For 15 years, MGHfC has provided me the structure and opportunity to become the physician I wanted to be and pursue areas of inquiry that allowed me to mature clinically and academically."
Pediatric Blood Disorders Program, 25 years of service
"During my 25 years at Mass General, I have most come to appreciate the teamwork and friendship that has developed between me and my colleagues. Our relationships have brought much joy to my daily work. From the personal standpoint, I have come to feel most proud of the hospital and center for which I work, clearer in my identity in my pediatric specialty and rewarded by my role in helping to develop three clinical programs. I also have received much joy from my laboratory investigations and discovery."
Julie Hennigan, MS
Pediatric Surgery, 10 years of service
"I’ve been extremely grateful for my experience working at MGHfC. It has given me an opportunity to indirectly impact the lives of our smallest patients and really make a difference by working as a team to make sure we can offer the best of the best.
"It has been so rewarding to interact with the group of professionals that I have had the privilege of getting to know. I have learned so much from so many different people and it’s opened my eyes to new perspectives and helped me grow. It’s such a supportive environment and I am pleased with what I have been able to contribute and look forward to many more opportunities to do so in the future!"
Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 35 years of service
"Mass General has become a home away from home for me. It is such a privilege to work with people who are respectful of one another and who are playing at the top of their game, whether it is the patient care Services associate, the administrative assistant, the nurse, resident or fellow or the head of the department. That behavior has been a model for me and is something I aim to emulate every day. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work in a variety of positions, almost seamlessly moving from fellow in training to attending physician to working in a laboratory or serving as an administrator. Although Mass General is a huge institution, walking through the halls there is always a friend or a familiar face."
Pediatric Transplant Surgery, 20 years of service
"To my time here, I say 'Ars longa, vita brevis,' which means 'Art is long, life is short.' Thanks to everybody around me, I am still learning and growing every day! No chance to retire soon."
Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 40 years of service
"A wonderful thing happened when I started work here 40 years ago as a young trainee. I discovered an institution that puts the health and welfare of all of its patients and families, as well as the health of our community, as its first and most important priority. I’ve also learned something new every day and through research and teaching, I have been able in a small way to contribute to new knowledge in medicine.
"I feel I’ve been given a rare privilege to work with some of the smartest, nicest and most collaborative people on the planet and remain very grateful to be a part of this great hospital. I’ve worked at the MGHfC and Mass General – my entire professional life. This institution, the people I work with each day and the opportunities I’ve been given to contribute to the care of infants and children have completely shaped who I am as a health care professional, teacher and investigator."
Pediatric Dermatology, 10 years of service
“I am grateful every day for my affiliation with MGHfC and the opportunity to work with such a dedicated, caring, smart, interesting and fun team of people. I am constantly impressed by the care they offer our patients and their commitment to each other and the institution. I have grown personally and professionally by collaborating with them and can’t believe 10 years have gone by so quickly. Getting to do what you love with wonderful people is a tremendous gift!"
Pediatric Music Therapy, 10 years of service
"My time at MGHfC has meant the world to me. This is the place where I get to combine my love and understanding of children, childhood development, play, music and clinical/goal-based interventions. I am one of the fortunate people in the world who get to combine what they love with what they are best at.
"Over the past 10 years, I have seen our program grow from two hours a week on Ellison 17 and 18 to a program with three music therapists who provide 50 hours of pediatric-focused music therapy to both the inpatient and outpatient oncology clinic. There has never been a door closed to music therapy at MGHfC. It is why I chose to work here and why I continue to work to sustain the philanthropy required to keep this program going. To watch a parent get to see their child smile for the first time, to help a teen discover that they can learn the guitar, or facilitate two roommates get to know each other through an instrument jam is what music therapy does at MGHfC every day. It continues to give me pride to help this program continue and grow for our patients, family and staff."
Medical Genetics, 10 years of service
"I love my work in genetics and my patients, and I am delighted to have the privilege to work with so many brilliant, caring and collaborative people. I once read a quote from someone who said that working at Mass General makes her want to do better. That sums it up for me. MGHfC is a place of excellence in patient care, research and collaboration that inspires me every day."
Pediatric Primary Care, 25 years of service
“I have been working here half of my lifetime, which is astounding to me. My time at MGHfC has allowed me to see children and families evolve over time and work through some very difficult situations. Working here has allowed me to observe how fortunate that I am. I am very glad to be able to work with such brilliant and friendly people.”
Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, 30 years of service
“My first two years of residency in the Children’s Service at Massachusetts General Hospital foreshadowed my call to work in community health and primary care within a general hospital. I returned to Mass General working for 10 years at other local hospitals to start community-based programs to complete that vocational call to care for high-risk children, adolescents and families within comprehensive primary care, establishing a community-based practice and Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine that continue to this day. It has been the most meaningful vocation to bring my medical education training to our most vulnerable patients and families, caring for and fostering their growth and development.
Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunodeficiencies, 10 years of service
"Being a part of the MGHfC community is a great source of pride. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such talented, dedicated and warm colleagues. I’m looking forward to the next decade!"
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 15 years of service
"My time at MGHfC means bringing my deep knowledge and wisdom of nursing to patients and families. It allows me to advocate for them from an administrative perspective with the assistance of extraordinary staff and colleagues. I have grown personally and professionally from a staff nurse in pediatric and adult endoscopy to a nurse manager. Thanks to the strong pediatric leadership I have the privilege to work with, I have pushed out of my ‘comfort zone’ to help patients, families and staff, and deliver the best possible care to our patients."
Pediatric Endocrinology, 5 years of service
"My time at MGHfC has been great. It is an opportunity to explore my career ambitions and give it my best shot. It has been a phase of learning and growth personally and professionally. I am still learning to balance my personal and professional career and learning to set my priorities."
Maria J. Troulis, DSS, MS
Pediatric Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 20 years of service
"MGHfC is a wonderful place to deliver care for pediatric patients. Knowing that children receive their care from the day they were born and transition seamlessly into adult care gives me peace of mind. MGHfC has inspired me to become a better surgeon and doctor. From when I first came here to train to daily interactions with every MGHfC member, I feel I have become a better provider. It is a privilege and it is fun to play even a small role on an incredible team."
Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, 10 years of service
"During my time at MGHfC, I have become a trained clinician, a pediatric pulmonologist and cystic fibrosis specialist, a basic researcher and a mother. My career and life continues to shape itself and I’m grateful for the support and guidance that I’ve received from my MGHfC family over this time.
"The nurturing, supportive environment of MGHfC has allowed me to develop my clinical and research career by offering individualized guidance throughout my growing career. I have outstanding mentorship by leaders in pediatric pulmonology and airway inflammation who foster my clinical and research goals while encouraging work-life balance. This expertise, cushioned by a supportive environment, has been the most important factor in shaping my career."
About Ether Day
- This year, Ether Day was celebrated on Oct. 13, 2017 in a lively ceremony under the Bulfinch tents. The Ether Day Dancers rocked and rolled to hit songs of each year of service recognized.
- In total, 3,758 employees received pins ranging from five years of service to 65.
- Ether Day started on Oct. 16, 1846, when William T. G. Morton, a Boston dentist, demonstrated the use of ether during surgery in what is now known as the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital. This ended the unimaginable pain and dread that often accompanied going under the surgeon's knife. Morton administered the ether to patient Gilbert Abbot, who had a vascular tumor on his neck. After Abbot fell asleep, John Collins Warren, MD, a prominent surgeon at the time, removed the tumor. Abbot reported no pain when he woke up.
- Ether Day has since become a day to recognize staff of all role groups for their years of service and dedication to patients, families and the hospital's overall mission. Staff receive pins with stars denoting every five years of service. Staff who celebrate 20 years or more are treated to a dinner hosted by Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital.