Four Simple Words
How can I help?
I heard Dr. Max Goodwin speak those four simple words for a final time earlier this week.
For non-viewers of the television series New Amsterdam, Max was the medical director of a fictional public hospital in New York City. When Max arrived, New Amsterdam Hospital was struggling with its finances, with a lack of shared vision, and with how to serve the population for which it was created—people on the margins without access to health care.
Over five seasons, the goal of leading the hospital to become the best it could be drove Max—even if it meant he needed to break the existing system to help create something new. At the heart of what Max tried to do were four simple words: "How can I help?"
Sometimes Max crossed boundaries or made missteps as he attempted to respond to the answers he received, but he never stopped asking the question.
During the series finale—which was titled "How Can I Help?"—viewers learned that Max first heard those four simple words as a five-year old sitting in a hospital hallway while his sister was dying in a nearby bed. A nurse kneeled down to young Max and asked him that question.
Those four simple words set Max on the path to becoming a doctor. They became the north star that would guide him through life.
Associate Executive Minister