“I am proud to be a rheumatologist and to be standing here before you as the ACR president. … It’s been a great life journey,” said David Daikh, MD, PhD, as he welcomed attendees to the 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 20. Approximately 15,000 rheumatologists, rheumatology professionals and patients from the U.S. and around the world are in attendance.
Dr. Daikh reminded attendees of some of the ACR’s accomplishments from the past year. “The ACR supports science and innovation,” he said. He talked about the RISE registry, saying it was created by the ACR to help prepare rheumatologists for the significant challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare environment.
He also spoke about the longer term goals and accomplishments, saying, “The development of an effective advocacy effort has been one of the most important accomplishments of the past decade.” Visit the ACR’s Legislative Action Center to learn more.
Following the presentation of the ACR and ARHP merit awards and awards of distinction, distinguished fellows and masters, Jonathan Koch, president and CCO of Asylum Entertainment LLC, a producer and director known for his work on The Kennedys, told his touching and inspiring story of mysterious illness, resilience and recovery.
In 2015, Mr. Koch, a busy executive and dad, rapidly developed a serious illness that led quickly to hospitalization in an intensive care unit.
Mr. Koch, who kept himself in good shape, never a smoker or a drinker, says he woke up one morning in his Los Angeles home not feeling well. He was experiencing flu-like symptoms, and his hands and feet were numb. He headed to the emergency department and was told there was nothing wrong with him, but he was given a shot of morphine to combat his symptoms. He was headed to an important meeting in Washington, D.C., that day, so he opted to stick to the plan.
In D.C. at the meeting, he started seeing triple, but he continued with his presentation. He said he “gave the presentation to the guy in the middle,” hoping that he was talking to the actual person.
As soon as he walked out of the meeting, he grabbed a cab and asked to be taken to the hospital. He wound up in the George Washington University Hospital Emergency Department, where he remembers the doctor telling him, “You’re probably going to die tonight. You should call your family.”