A Doctor and A Lawyer Walk Into The Healthcare System

(P)luck is for anyone who aspires to help improve the world around them.

It’s April, and that means it’s time to celebrate public health. Yes, we’re talking about the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. It’s a vital field, and we owe a debt of gratitude to all the healthcare professionals who work tirelessly to keep us healthy and safe.

Today, we want to spotlight two brothers who have made a significant impact in the world of public health. Meet Alfred and Blair Sadler, the dynamic duo who helped revolutionize the emergency medicine system, were integral to the creation of the physician assistant profession, helped to write the model law which established organ donation and transplantation systems in the United States and helped to foster the field of biomedical ethics in collaboration with the Hastings Center.

They worked as a medical legal team at the National Institutes of Health, the Yale University School of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, over a nine-year period. Back in the late 1960s, the Sadler brothers and the team at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) noticed a glaring issue in emergency response systems. There was no standardized way for people to reach out to and get emergency services.

Cities and counties had minimal or no resources to deal with a medical crisis and people had to rely on themselves to get the help they needed. So, the brothers jumped at the opportunity to do their part in helping bring forth a brilliant solution: a universal emergency number, 9-1-1. This number allowed people to connect with medical services quickly and easily with a simple phone call. Talk about a game-changer!

And while we might take the 9-1-1 system for granted today, we shouldn’t forget that it is a vital part of our emergency response infrastructure and has saved countless lives over the years. But the Sadlers didn’t stop at working on an emergency service.

There was a recognized shortage of healthcare professionals; the Sadlers were part of the team that came up with yet another impactful solution: the physician assistants profession. This new profession included training individuals to work in primary care settings under the supervision of a physician. It’s a rigorous, comprehensive, and yet incredibly popular profession across the US.

Today, physician assistants (PAs) play an essential role in our healthcare system helping to leverage the doctors we do have. In addition to PAs, the Sadlers were also instrumental in creating the Emergency Medical Technician system, and the models for the Good Samaritan laws, and organ donation laws. Their innovative ideas and collaborative approach across the medical and legal systems have had a wide and lasting impact on the health and well-being of all of us and enabled essential health care systems.

We at Silicon Valley Press are proud to have worked on their book (P)LUCK: Lessons We Learned for Improving Healthcare and the World. The Sadlers wrote this book to encourage readers to take challenges head on and make changes in their own communities. In this book they share the lessons they learned while working together as a team but also in collaboration with organizations and pioneers in medicine, law and ethics. The lessons they are not as much about healthcare as they are about recognizing a problem and being willing to take initial steps toward fixing it.

An example of one of these lessons is to lead from any chair. The Sadlers found that they could in fact lead even when they had no authority and were not in charge. The book has gotten great attention with the brothers speaking at various venues and platforms. If you’re looking for a way to get involved and make a difference, take a page from (P)LUCK, literally. A 2022 INDIE Book Award finalist, the book is a fantastic way to learn about how innovation, team building, and collaboration can make a real impact on the many issues facing our common wellbeing; healthcare is just one of them.

Get your copy of (P)Luck at your favorite bookstore today. Shop Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and local bookstores.