April 8 is Cushing’s Awareness Day, celebrated on the birthday of Dr. Harvey Cushing. Dr. Cushing was born in 1869 and had many impressive accomplishments in addition to his official discovery and first diagnosis of “polyglandular syndrome”, which was later renamed Cushing’s syndrome. He was also a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and introduced North America to the wall-mounted blood pressure monitor after learning about this non-invasive technique from an Italian colleague while traveling abroad in the late 1800s. He is credited with making blood pressure an official vital measurement with the introduction of this machine that measured systolic pressure. Another physician discovered a way to measure diastolic pressure in 1905 and expanded the machine to become the precursor to that in which we have all found ourselves dozens (or hundreds) of times in our lives.
There is a saying attributed to Dr Cushing that is so very relevant with this and really any other disease: “A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more even than the whole man – he must view the man in his world.”
We are thankful for the physicians who understand and practice this daily, and we are committed to doing our part to find and share with physicians who just need a little help to see diagnosis and treatment in the same way.
We are also encouraged by all the efforts of Cushing’s patients who are proactive in their own lives, supportive of others, and engaged in processes that lead to better outcomes for all of us.