“We made a choice long ago to put ourselves into a position, as a physician, to be able to care and make a difference. We chose emergency medicine and the chaotic environment of the emergency department as a place for us to give that care. We chose to find our fulfillment here. It serves us well to remember that what we want from our work is the good feeling that comes from truly caring for others.”
Frank Gabrin, DO

It is with deep sadness that the ACOEP family learned of the death of Frank Gabrin, DO on March 31st. An employee of East Orange General Hospital in New Jersey, Dr. Gabrin stayed home from work beginning March 26th after exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19. News outlets are reporting that on March 31st, he began experiencing chest pains and passed shortly after.

“Dr. Gabrin was a valuable member of our ACOEP community and we are honored to call him one of our own,” said ACOEP President Robert Suter, DO, FACOEP-D. “He was a shining example of selfless professionalism, an advocate for physician wellness, and a champion of treating patients with compassion and empathy. We are all the worse for his loss.”

For many years Dr. Gabrin contributed to The Pulse, sharing personal insights into his experiences as a patient and how that informed his work as a physician. He called for the need for compassionate care to every patient who presents to the ED, and gave physicians practical insights into combating compassion fatigue and physician burnout.

He embraced technological advances in the ED, but warned poignantly about losing the human connection when physicians become too dependent on machines. He expertly blended the benefits of mindfulness with science to help teach physicians how to care for themselves and, by extension, to better care for their patients.

“Mindfulness is a method that is extremely reliable,” Dr. Gabrin wrote in a 2017 Pulse article. “It allows us to blend the art and the science. Through mindfulness, I am able to be fully engaged in the process, embrace our new technology, and most importantly, connect emotionally to my patients and their families in healthy, extremely positive ways. This is how I am able to love what I am doing again.”

“We offer our sincerest condolences to Dr. Gabrin’s family and friends, especially his husband, Arnold Vargas, and his team at East Orange General Hospital,” says Dr. Suter. “His passing is a tragedy, and underscores the bravery of the entire emergency medicine family in this pandemic.”

Dr. Gabrin, a supporter of the Foundation for Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (FOEM) was a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians. He served in the United States Navy Medical Corps where he was honored with a Navy Achievement Medal. Although his career was primarily focused on in clinical care, he was the Director of the Emergency Department at Millington Naval Hospital and served as Chief Resident and subsequently as a resident trainer for the Northeast Ohio Consortium Emergency Residency Program. A two-time cancer survivor, Dr. Gabrin wrote the book, Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care.

Click here to read Dr. Gabrin’s 2017 article Mind Over Grey Matter.

Click here to read Dr. Gabrin’s post When It’s Our Turn.

Please, go care, make a difference and change (y)our world.
Frank Gabrin, DO.