by Marilyn Pink, PT, Ph.D., MBA
A patient sitting in his/her pre-op exam with Dr. Frank Jobe would hear about the surgery, and then they’d hear “—and that is only the first half of the job, the second half is your physical therapy”. On March 6, 2014, physical therapy lost a great friend and a firm believer in the profession with the passing of Dr. Jobe.
Given the great therapists he worked with, it is easy to see how he came to appreciate the benefits of PT. So, before going on with remembrances of Dr. Jobe, I, as a PT, would like to thank all of you PTs who affirmed Dr. Jobe’s belief in us: Haideh, Judy, Clive, Kevin, Pat, Brian, Matt, Stewart and many, many more. For those PTs who have not had the privilege to work with Dr. Jobe: we are making his EDUCATA course The Process of Progress (a collaboration between myself and Dr. Jobe) available for free this month of March 2014 in his honor. Click here and enter coupon code JOBE2014 at checkout if you’d like to hear and learn directly from this great clinician, surgeon, educator.
Like Hippocrates, Galen and Pare, Dr. Jobe went to war to learn about surgery. He joined the Army out of high school during World War II and served in the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge. One day, out of the blue, he told me a story about how his group was about to move to a new location the next day. As the medical supply sergeant, he stayed up all night packing supplies. The next day, once they’d arrived at their new destination and he had unpacked, he decided to take a nap. So, he went into the forest and fell asleep – until he heard yelling, screaming and gunfire. He looked out from the dense forest, and saw the Germans had overtaken his camp. As a young man not knowing what exactly to do, he went deeper into the forest and became quite lost. Multiple days in the cold without food went by. Then he heard trucks. He decided it didn’t matter if those trucks were American or German, he was going to flag them down.
Lucky for him, and us, they were American trucks. Dr. Jobe became a medic and the Army doctors whom he saw performing surgery, keeping calm and focused with gunfire overhead, became his inspiration.
Indeed focus and keeping calm became landmarks of his personality.
The first lecture I did for Dr. Jobe was at a Baseball conference. After speaking and on stage, Dr. Jobe came up to shake my hand and leaned in, for what the audience probably assumed was a gentlemanly kiss on the check. But, here’s the truth – he was whispering in my ear that I’d forgotten to distinguish between the upper and lower subscapularis!! So, Dr. Jobe: in the lecture on shoulder biomechanics that is currently in production at EDUCATA, I make a big deal out of the difference of those two RADICALLY DIFFERENT parts of the muscle.
Much has been said this past week about his breakthrough surgical procedures and the famous people he treated – mostly athletes. But I’d like to put in my two cents for his generosity to humanity. Here was a busy man who loved his work and the people around him. He helped us define our strengths and then gave us an opportunity to push a bit more. He knew what and when something was taking our minds off of work, he’d gently inquire about it and turn the focus to what we did well. He helped us believe in ourselves.
I’m at a lack of words for the greatness of this human being, but I’d like to close with this remembrance: frequently, at the end of a lecture, Dr. Jobe would turn to the audience and say “We aren’t done. It isn’t over yet. It is for you, the next generation, to take this knowledge to the next level. I want YOU to do the research to make my words outdated.”
I take that to heart. This past year we saw Dr. Perry pass away, as did Dr. McKenzie and now Dr. Jobe. Who among us are the next leaders in clinical advancement? What questions are we asking? What do we look for and how can we consistently optimize treatment with our patients? Equally pertinent is how do we deftly communicate our findings and promote learning in all of us?
So, thank you Dr. Jobe, Dr. Perry, Dr. McKenzie and many other leaders who have shown us not just the facts of medicine, but also the process of thinking through problems, deriving solutions and communicating results. Thank you too, for making it clear that we each have a responsibility to enjoy our work as we push it forward. Thank you for being our inspiration.