Category: Health Magazine, Summer 2023

Title:Reflections on Health with Srdjan Mirkovic (M’84, Parent’20)

Author: Gabrielle Barone
Date Published: June 20, 2023
a man and a woman in Hoya caps stand together
Srdjan Mirkovic, M.D. (M’84), with his daughter, a member of Georgetown University Class of 2020. Photo: Courtesy of Srdjan Mirkovic

holding hands

When I lived in Morocco as part of my mother’s yearlong work there, I went to a Jesuit Spanish school. I liked their teaching, the combination of faith and education. I think that always stayed with me, so I ended up at Georgetown. Faith and taking care of people go hand in hand.

I don’t think people go into the lifelong commitment of a health care career without having some basic, solid human foundations. an x-ray of a kneeIf I could advise the next generation of doctors, I would tell them to focus on the individual. Care about the patient. Do the right thing and don’t worry about the rest.

After playing sports in school, I always had a fascination with muscles and ligaments and tendons and broken bones, so orthopedics was kind of a natural thing for me. The spine became really interesting because if a bone is broken, if somebody has arthritis of the hip, you treat the underlying condition. Spine treatment is complicated by chronic pain and greater prevalence in psychological issues, which are closely related and which I find more challenging.  

a sketch of two opposing heads with a tangle of brain

I never wanted to just focus on the spine and say, “Well, you don’t have a disc for me to operate on, so there’s nothing I can do for you.” That is not the Georgetown teaching, or my kind of faith, which is to take care of the person. A disc is just a part of it. Reassurance plays a huge part in what I do.

You have to be detailed and meticulous to take care of patients. Being a doctor is a long road, and there is a personal cost to it. There are emotional costs and psychological costs. We’re on 24 hours a day. Even when you’re not seeing a patient, you carry your patients’ problems with you all the time. So I worry about the mental health of physicians. Navy seal

I often think about what the human spirit can endure physically and emotionally. Then I read Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and quite a few other books about survival, and I became fascinated by the SEALs, especially their training and Hell Week. I went to a place in San Diego called SEALFIT, run by a former SEAL commander. I also like doing marathons: the Mountain Man Memorial March in Tennessee and the Bataan Memorial Death March in White Sands, New Mexico. I want to understand and test my own level of resilience. bicycles

My wife and I went with a group to Greece on a bike and hike trip. On the hiking days, I would put some rocks in my pack and basically run for a while and wait for everybody to catch up. I’d do some squats or something, because I can’t just walk.

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