DCMH Unveils Doctors of Distinction Program
Pictured from left to right are William Beckwith, M.D.; Harold
Haft, M.D.; Susan Arsht (widow of Edwin Arsht, M.D.); Joan
Waller, M.D.; Thomas Matulewski, M.D., president of the
DCMH Medical Staff; and Edward LaPorta, M.D.
DREXEL HILL, Pa. – Delaware County Memorial Hospital recently honored three longtime physicians for their outstanding dedication, leadership and meritorious service to the hospital.
Conceived by Edward LaPorta, M.D., past president of the Medical Staff and chief of the Section of Cardiology at DCMH, the “Doctors of Distinction” program provides an opportunity for the medical staff to recognize physicians whose names are almost synonymous with the hospital itself.
“We recognize that there are many physicians who have contributed tremendously over the years, but there are some who stood out for their extraordinary contributions,” says Joan Waller, M.D., vice president for Medical Affairs at DCMH. “We thought that this program would send a message that physicians’ dedication to their patients and the practice of medicine is an ongoing factor in our hospital’s success.”
The program’s inaugural set of inductees, the late Edwin Arsht, M.D., Allergy and Immunology; William Beckwith, M.D., Cardiology; and Harold Haft, M.D., Neurosurgery, were treated to a reception held in their honor in the DCMH Boardroom. Members of each physician’s family were in attendance, as were many hospital staffers who stopped by to congratulate the honorees.
LaPorta worked closely with Waller to formulate the program criteria and convene a committee. “We wanted this program to be unique,” LaPorta says. “The doctors we nominate were required to be members of the DCMH Medical Staff for at least 30 years, to be outstanding leaders at the hospital, and to have made a distinctive mark on the hospital. They had to ‘leave something behind.’”
In the end, the three physicians “were chosen unanimously,” according to LaPorta, and the process of exactly how to honor them began. The committee decided that the physicians, their families and hospital colleagues would be invited to the recognition event, where a display bearing their likenesses would be unveiled. Beckwith and Haft attended (Arsht passed away in October 2011), and the response from the hospital family was immediate and overwhelming. “This was our way to show our appreciation to people who dedicated their careers, and the majority of their lives, to DCMH’s patients, medical staff and employees,” LaPorta says. “A lot of people who were at the event worked with these doctors for many years and wanted to be a part of the process to honor them.”
Arsht held several administrative positions during his 45 years of service to DCMH, but his most notable contributions were the creation of the Continuing Medical Education program as well as the Family Practice residency program. “He was a dedicated physician and a feisty, funny man,” Waller says.
Beckwith was the hospital’s chief of Cardiology for 25 years. He also served as a member of the DCMH Board of Directors, established echocardiography at DCMH, directed the development of the CICU and established the Critical Care Committee. Beckwith retired in 2006 after 37 years of service and currently serves on the Crozer-Keystone Board of Directors. “He was the consummate ‘bedside physician’ and an outstanding cardiologist,” Waller says.
Haft came to DCMH in 1966, and in his 45 years on the medical staff he held various administrative positions, including chief of the Section of Neurosurgery, vice president of Medical Affairs and membership on the Board of Trustees. Haft also is recognized for his development of the Resource Utilization Committee. “Harold was a dedicated neurosurgeon when in practice,” Waller says. “He spent many years as the vice president of Medical Affairs and was a great advocate for the medical staff.” Haft is still an active member of various DCMH committees.
“Every day, when I walk by the Doctors of Distinction display, I am reminded of why we did this,” Waller says. “It is very gratifying, and is a lovely, inspiring tribute to these physicians. I am proud to have been a part of the process.”