This I Believe

Miller, Louis

  • Louis Miller, director of the Jewish Memorial Hospital in New York City, remembers the important lesson he learned from his mother, to always help those in need, and describes how this led him to a career in hospital administration.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Louis Miller is Director of Jewish Memorial Hospital in New York City. He began his career in hospital administration at Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio in 1926, and subsequently held positions at Mount Sinai in New York, Beth Israel and the Hospital for Joint Diseases. A member of the board and treasurer of the Greater New York Hospital Association, he is also active in many other professional jobs. Here is Louis Miller.
When I was a boy, the eldest son of the family, I was often awakened by my mother to accompany her to the home of a neighbor who was in trouble. No matter what the hour, my mother never refused to go. I remember many such episodes.
Later, my mother's philosophy penetrated my thinking. Her faith became mine--that to help someone who needs your help will bring you the blessings of God.
This was an early discovery for which I consider myself very fortunate. To do something for someone in need is one of the most gratifying and heartwarming experiences a human can have. I remember the many people who came to our home at my mother's death, to pay their respects to someone whom they loved and regarded as a warm friend. The impression of their sorrow and their love lingered with me.
These episodes, embodying the important teachings of my mother to help your neighbor, made so deep an impression on my
mind that my adult life was shaped by them. My own experiences have convinced me that it is blessed to help our neighbor who needs help; that it is far more blessed to give than to receive. For nothing can make one feel better inside than doing something for another human being out of the goodness of heart, and because you want to do it.
During the years of my early business life, I kept thinking how I could translate my mother's teachings into my daily life. I wanted to make this a mission in life, to be helpful to my fellow man everyday that I live. This was possible when I consulted a good friend who was, at that time, Dean of a major medical school. He suggested that I go into hospital administration, which I did at once. Now I feel eternally grateful to him for this advice.
For 28 years, I have been in the profession of my choice, where I can help someone less fortunate than I; where I can give someone hope and courage to win a way back to health; where I can make someone feel, at least, a little bit better. I feel fortunate to be in such a position. For only in this way can I live out my life's philosophy, to be helpful to my neighbor, and in that way to live each day to the fullest.
We who work in hospitals are in a very enviable position, in my opinion. My greatest feeling of satisfaction comes from having a patient tell me that a nurse, maid, or porter was kind, thoughtful, and considerate of his feelings, and helped
him or her to feel better by those little things, which means so much to a person who is ill.
In my own field, as well as in others, fear is one of the greatest obstacles to the forces of good. I have believed for many years that if we could eliminate the fears, which beset people when they enter the hospital, the medical treatment of the patients would be greatly assisted. I, therefore, helped to inaugurate a program of bringing schoolchildren on tours through the hospital, and I have received great satisfaction in seeing their fears of something unknown reduced by a closer understanding. I believe that to the extent we can help others to eliminate their fears, we are not only
benefiting them, but making it possible for them to do greater good for others.
We hospital people have great opportunities every minute of the day to ease the burden of those who come to us for care, by making our hospital a warm and friendly place where the patient actually is, and feels he is, among friends. This is the pattern I have tried to set in my hospital, perhaps selfishly, because it makes me feel so good and enables me to return to my home each evening with the hope that the world is just a bit better today because of what I have tried to do.
That was Louis Miller, director of Jewish Memorial Hospital in New York City.