The first Doctors Day observance was March 30, 1933 in Winder, Georgia. Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, decided to set aside a day to honor physicians. This first observance included the mailing greeting cards and placing flowers on graves of deceased doctors. The red carnation is commonly used as the symbolic flower for National Doctors Day.
On March 30, 1958, a Resolution Commemorating Doctors Day was adopted by the United States House of Representatives. In 1990, legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to establish a national Doctors Day. Following overwhelming approval by the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, on October 30, 1990, President George Bush signed S.J. RES. #366 (which became Public Law 101-473) designating March 30, 1991 as “National Doctors Day.”
Doctors Day also marks the date that Crawford W. Long, M.D., of Jefferson, GA, administered the first ether anesthetic for surgery on March 30, 1842. On that day, Dr. Long administered ether anesthesia to a patient and then operated to remove a tumor from the man’s neck. Later, the patient would swear that he felt nothing during the surgery and was not aware the surgery was over until he awoke.
Photo © Abraham Menashe