1995 Thomas G. Wharton Memorial Lecture

“Love and Perfusion”

Jerry W. Richmond , C.C.P.
Columbia, Maryland

Good morning. It is really an honor for me to be here this morning to give the Tom Wharton Memorial Lecture. Who would have thought 32 years ago that a pump tech from Memphis, Tennessee would be standing in this position. I am not a great orator, as are some of the people you have heard during the meeting, but I would like to talk to you from the heart about some things that I believe in.

Unfortunately, I did not know or work with Tom Wharton, so I had to do some research about him to prepare for my talk today. I found one common thread in speaking with those who knew Tom, and in reviewing things that had been written in other memorials about Tom: Tom was a facilitator. He did not try to seek notoriety. He did not look for credit for a lot of things that he did; but he had an abiding respect for the perfusionist, the personalities, and he wanted to see us become a professional entity in which we could take pride.

Earl, in his memorial to Tom, spoke about meet ing him in heaven, and they have a discussion on the bank of a trout stream. I wonder what Tom would think, being a journalist, if he could see where we have come with this organization and its dissemina tion of information and education. The Proceedings have been a very beautiful and important part of our function. Now we are trying to establish a partnership with the journal Perfusion, which I think can only enhance our ability to disseminate information.

Love is a word that has had many, over the years, intensities in its description: Adoration, kind of worship, or reverence for people. Devotion is another word for love. It denotes loyalty and faith. Infatuation sometimes can be brief. Admiration and esteem denote respect. Charity is giving of love. Affinity is being drawn to love. There is physical love in the sexual sense, but there is also an idolization that we have which is also love, a worship. There is apprecia tion and relish and savor that denote different types of love.

The kind of love I would like to talk to you about this morning is love of ourselves; not in a narcissistic kind of way, but love that we have for our selves to perform our profession, our duties, and live our lives. It takes love to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go in and do an emergency case. It takes love to respect others’ needs.

There is also the kind of love we need to have to sacrifice for others, for our patients, for our teams, our family, and our professions. We need to love ourselves enough to understand other individuals’ views and feelings. We need to love ourselves to rea lize that there are things that we cannot do, and we have to accept who we are.

We have to have enough love to have the con viction to proceed and perform to the best of our abilities. We have to have love so that we can extract ourselves from distractions while we perform our professional duties. We have to love ourselves to follow through when things seem so bleak and there does not seem to be any hope. We cannot stop. We need to follow through.

We have to love ourselves to advance our knowledge. It is very important for us to advance our knowledge, to seek out, and even to review. We need to love ourselves enough to represent ourselves as professionals, not only to people we work with, but also to our peers. We need to love ourselves to over look the shortcomings we face each day as we go through life. We need to love ourselves to be honest. To me, this is a very key love that we need to have for ourselves. We have a lot of responsibility.

Many times no one knows exactly what we are doing. We could contaminate a connector as we set up the heart- lung machine. We are the only one who knows. We have to have the honesty to deal with that.

We need to love ourselves enough to contribute to others. We need to share what we learn. We need to be proud. We need to love ourselves enough to be proud of our accomplishments, but not let our pride get in the way of our profession. We need to love ourselves to learn from our mistakes, not to ignore our mistakes or rationalize our mistakes. We need to love ourselves to be able to share the credit and not try to put ourselves up on a pedestal, but to share the credit with other people involved.

We need to love ourselves to smile during adver sities. There are many things that happen that are beyond our control that we have to deal with: changes in the health care system, all sorts of things, but we need to put on a pleasant face and smile and continue in our duties.

We need to love ourselves enough to be confident in our convictions and decisions. We need to love ourselves to be open-minded. We do not need to be resistant to change. We need to try to encourage change. We need to be benevolent in our love and understanding of others. We need to love ourselves, not to have to justify who and what we are, but to represent ourselves in such a way that there is no question who we are and what we do.

We also over the years have seen many people try to deal with their stress and tension in many ways, but we need to love our bodies. We have a job to do that requires physical and mental acuteness that a lot of other professions do not have. I have seen perfusionists, friends, who have become involved in drugs or alcohol. We need to love ourselves enough not to do that. We need to protect ourselves with that love.

When I was reviewing for this Tom Wharton Lecture, a friend of mine sent me a copy of a 1980 newsletter from AmSECT. In that newsletter, there was a memorial to Tom Wharton. They published a poem by Tom. In conclusion, I would like to read Tom Wharton’s poem to you.

It is entitled A Place For Me.

There is a place for me.

It has a physical quality and mental environment that is appropriate for me.

It will be a place for me, not a place that others think appropriate for me.

Physically this place will be surrounded by high mountains,
sometimes snow covered, sometimes not.

There will be an ocean so near that the sound of the surf
will frequently be the loudest discernible sound.

Trees of untold variety, especially those which have leaves
to sound in the breeze, will abound.

Trees and foliage will remain green year-round.

Flowers will bloom for about the same duration.

People in this place will have only one requirement, that they love the other people.

The first reaction of this person to another will be trust and goodwill.

A resident will have to earn distrust or suspicion.

There will be no pressures to conform, only an understanding to refrain
from those things which might physically or emotionally harm others.

Work will consist of those things the residents individually consider a vocation.

For those who must conform to the set schedule and physical environment,
there will be work.

For those who write, they will write.

Martyrs will be unacceptable, since there is little love in martyrdom.


In this place, a system will be established to permit enough solitude
for those who seek it.

There will be adequate social time for those who need it.

People will be able to share with others to the precise degree they chose.

Couples will share with each other, as frequently as they like, for as long as they like.

Children will share with adults.

Adults will share with children.

Each will attempt to understand the other.

There is a place for me, and it’s only inside my head.

It cries to burst from my eyes for others to see.

It creates pressures in my throat to yell out for others to hear.

Inside my head is my place.

Will someone share it with me.

That concludes my talk. But I hope everyone will continue to love yourselves for the

benefit of everyone. Thank you.