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Ira Brecher, MD

The Breakfast Club

Ira Brecher, MD Holy Cross Hospital Surgeon; Legacy Member; and Past President of Medical and Dental Staff

Holy Cross Hospital’s breakfast club began not long after I started in 1968. A group of us would run into each other every morning in the cafeteria before 7 a.m. rounds. The hospital was pretty small in those days—everyone knew each other—and we started looking forward to our early morning get-togethers. It caught on and we began calling it the breakfast club.

Physicians Blaine Eig, MD, and Steven Oristian, MD,—whose sons, Blair and Eric, respectively, are currently on the hospital’s medical staff—were frequent members, along with a bunch of other old-timers from OB/GYN, radiology, surgery and internal medicine. The three nursing supervisors also joined us from time to time. It was a very congenial and collegial group, and gave us all the chance to build relationships and catch up on what was going on in the hospital.

One of the funniest memories of my 40+ years at Holy Cross Hospital occurred in the early 70s. It was a quiet Sunday morning and I was leaving the hospital after rounding. At that time, the doctor’s entrance was through the Emergency Room, and that day, there wasn’t a patient in sight.

All of a sudden, a little boy walks through the doors—carrying a cat! Turns out, the family pet had a fish hook caught in its lip, and the boy wanted to know if we could remove it.

Keep in mind, this was a long time ago and it would never happen today. But, the ER was empty, so I said “Sure.” I asked someone to get a stretcher and a bunch of sheets to wrap the cat in so it couldn’t scratch anyone. I put some Novocain on its lips, waited a few minutes and removed the hook. Grateful kid and kitty went home with the waiting parents.

A couple of days later, I got a card in the mail from ‘The Cat,’ thanking me for taking care of it, and apologizing for its lack of insurance. I kept that card for decades!

Another, more serious memory I have from the early days is of Richard Levin, MD. Richard was the hospital’s second director of pathology and the labs, a very well-respected physician and a good personal friend of mine. When he prematurely died from an illness, I thought it was appropriate to recognize Richard’s many contributions to Holy Cross Hospital over the years with a permanent, on-site memorial. His family agreed, and before too long, a small group of family and friends met at a peaceful, grassy plot overlooking Dameron Drive. After a brief ceremony, we placed a bronze plaque on the ground to mark the spot.


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