SCA Newsletter - October 2001
The Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists is an Anti-terrorist Organization
When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.
-- Ethiopian proverb
Only a short time has elapsed since the last Society of Cardiovascular
Anesthesiologists President's Message, but so much has changed in the world. The SCA joins the many other
societies and nations throughout the world in grieving the senseless injury and loss of life on September
11, 2001. First and foremost, our condolences and prayers go out to the thousands of people across
our country and throughout the world whose lives were tragically touched, either directly or indirectly,
by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. One of our respected past
SCA presidents from Canada, J. Earl Wynands, O.C., M.D., writes, "There has been a great outpouring
of sympathy and compassion in Canada for our American brothers and sisters. More than
100,000 people assembled on Parliament Hill to demonstrate the deep feeling and sympathy we have for
our best friends in your hour of need". Similar deep sentiments have been received from across the
globe and show the deep worldwide concern for this American tragedy.
The SCA is an international society. Even though the majority of our members are from
the United States, our membership comes from some 72 countries. As the loss of life is being tallied,
it has been noted that people from over 60 countries lost their lives in these terrorist attacks. It
has occurred to me, as I ponder the "why" of this tragedy, that terrorist movements often arise due
to isolation from tolerance and open discussion. Rigid, intolerant teachings, presented in the
framework of unquestionable authority, without the benefit of free exchange of ideas and viewpoints, leads
to the development of the myopic mindset in which terrorism can breed. Whether the terrorist
ideology is based on politics, religion, economics, race or the myriad of other issues that humans use
to separate themselves from one another, open and honest exploration of different ideas must be
the basis of society to prevent the extremist viewpoints from overtaking the rational ones.
While the war against terrorism is certainly being waged by our governments on several
fronts, it is a time for each of us to ask what role, small or large, can we play in combating these
horrible atrocities. As an international society, the SCA encourages membership from all nations, from
all religions, from all races, and from all ethnic origins. When the SCA was first founded in 1979, a
key desire of the founders was that our Society be inclusive of any and all anesthesiologists
anywhere with an interest in cardiac, thoracic, and vascular anesthesia. Our interest and professional love
of our specialty transcends any other artificial divisions between our members. Tolerance and
understanding go hand in hand as we join together to educate ourselves about our real enemies _
disease and death. Therefore, by being united in our battle against medical disease, the commonality
that exists among us as humans is emphasized and our differences are diminished.
I believe that professional societies, which stretch across the world, particularly medical
societies such as our own, do have an important role in promoting world peace and in fighting
terrorism. Our Society is an open one with the encouragement of participation and the exchange of
ideas. Though the primary exchanges are on the levels of medical education and research, there are also
the vital friendships and collegial relationships that inevitably occur when people get together.
These important exchanges do more to emphasize how similar we all are and how fragile our hold is on
life in this world. Our interactions help to bring understanding and tolerance of differences that
exist among all of us. Though we may seem like an insignificant player in the drama of
international relations, it is through personal interactions fostered by participation in societies such as the
SCA, that strong, positive relationships can occur superceding political, religious and cultural differences.
If enough people can find the commonality that we have found, then the barriers of isolationism
that breed extremism can be eliminated. Each of us, by being a part of the international family of
physicians is contributing in no small way to building bridges across nations and cultures. These
bridges, built on many levels, in many sizes, spanning large gaps and small ones, are what hold the
world together and combat the twisted, narrow-mindedness that enables terrorists to exist.
The officers and staff of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists join with our
members, America, and the world in mourning the senseless loss of life on September
11th. We must keep our minds and hearts open and continue to be bridge-builders…the bridge to the future depends
Roger A. Moore, MD