Final Read

Q: Tell us about a colleague who has inspired you.final read

Family and teachers as well as my patients have all inspired and encouraged this country boy to hoe a very long row. However, Michael P. McNamara, MD, stands taller than all the rest.

This tea-drinking, sweater-vest-wearing, all-things-Ireland-loving, oracle of the mountains welcomed me on my first day by saying, "You don't have bricks for hands! I can do something with you!" At first, from my perspective, it looked as if Dr. Mac was slinging some mighty strong rhetorical fertilizer at us! To residents, including me, his methods seemed awkward and uneasy. However, after a while, he and I both knew there was nothing I could have done to avoid my particular fate of getting involved in breast imaging. It seemed to both of us that the specialty had chosen me.

The metaphorical fertilizer thrown by Dr. Mac did its work in building a foundation, and then he pressed the seeds firmly into my consciousness to ensure good contact. The seeds he planted grew, but I did not yet have the perspective as a young trainee to fully understand the implications of his teachings. Once in the real world though, his quirky aphorisms began to come alive and created a veritable jungle!

“Dr. McNamara, like the vine, did not know what his efforts would yield, but he taught and encouraged, pressed and confirmed.” — W. Shawn Conwell, MD

Though the vine does not know whether its grapes are bound for the altar or the brothel, it bears nonetheless. Dr. McNamara, like the vine, did not know what his efforts would yield, but he taught and encouraged, pressed and confirmed. He had faith. I hope to carry these lessons to a new generation of patients, technologists, and students. Thank you, Dr. McNamara. Your fruit is ever-bearing.


final read headshotW. Shawn Conwell, MD, Womens imaging radiologists, Pitts Radiology, Columbia, S.C., Professional director, Palmetto Health Breast Center at Richland, Columbia, S.C., Professional director, Kershaw Health Breast Center, Camden, S.C.

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