Who is Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald?

She is one of those people who says, “I can.”

Joel Hunter, MD
Joel Hunter, MD
Refractive Surgeon, Hunter Vision Updated 03/01/21 11:00 AM

Jim Lampley once narrated the greatest Ironman World Championship movie ever made. It began with underwater camera shots of people treading water, waiting to begin their 2.4 mile swim. And as they’re floating, waiting, in the early dawn light, Jim’s voice comes in and says, “There really are just two types of people. Those who say, ‘I can’t’ ...and those who say, ‘I can.’” Oooo, I get chills even writing it.

Why do I mention that when talking about Dr. MacDonald? Because it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title for this blog. She is one of those people who says, “I can.” 

In medicine, just like any other career, there are new challenges to overcome every day. It’s literally in the job description that we want people to come to us with their problems, so that we can try to fix them. That could wear anyone down, and it wears a lot of doctors down just the same.

I’ve worked with hundreds of doctors over the years, and that “wearing down” shows up in many forms. Sometimes it’s gallows humor, sometimes it’s anger, sometimes it’s apathy… coping mechanisms come in a lot of different flavors. But they’re all coping mechanisms for the same underlying problem: the problem of “I can’t.”

But every now and then I get to work with someone exceptional. There are doctors out there who remain consistently passionate and kind and empathetic. The typical coping mechanisms don’t show up, because they’re approaching every problem saying, “I can.” That’s who Dr. MacDonald is. And it’s so inspiring to see!

I know that wasn’t the most specific answer to this question of “who is Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald?” But I do think it’s the most important answer! Because there really are just two types of people. And even though it’s so rare to find the type that always says “I can,” that’s exactly who she is.

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