The Second-Generation Craniofacial Surgeon: Progress Through Personal Responsibility and Personal Relationships
As all the readership of this journal know Dr. McCarthy serves as a representative of the second generation of craniofacial surgeons. This generation took the ideas of the first-generation craniofacial mentors and pushed forward into the developing craniofacial skeleton. In addition, this second generation built multidisciplinary care teams taking comprehensive approaches to craniofacial care instead of relying upon the individual surgeon boundary breaking innovation. While spending time with Dr. McCarthy in the operating room he often would reminisce upon his upbringing during which his mother taught him French and his great appreciation of Parisian culture as part of the education strategy of medical students and residents. In this Francophile-centered discussion, he would gently prompt the resident to “attack on a broad front, like Napoleon” or recount that he always did his easy homework first and that the resident should do the easy part of the operation first. In this way, Dr. McCarthy would be operating but yet weaving the oral history of his own life with the intertwined history of training residents in both a paternal and productive way. In these personal interactions, the values of professionalism were taught, practiced, and emulated and this became the mark of an NYU resident or fellow from the McCarthy era. He was known by the staff as “JGM” or “the boss” in an endearing but yet respectful way. I was honored to serve as his fellow from 2009 to 2010. In this way, I joined a cadre of fellows who had gone out into the plastic surgery and in some way carried JGM forward and will continue to carry JGM forward to the next generation both patients and colleagues in medicine. We often as surgeons wrongly believe that it is important to teach technical skills and JGM did far for than lead in the education of technical skills but rather did “technical plus,” the plus being the exceedingly important professional life skills. It was said by the humanitarian Joseph Karsh that it is rarely that one is able to pay the debt of son to father, soldier to soldier, pupil to master, but pay we must and we do it by paying forward with mentorship for the next generation. For Dr.