Elliot CEO: Gilchrist is 'an exceptional human being'
“The bottom line, at the end of the day, you can build whatever you want to build, you can make a place as pretty as you want to make it, but the key is the people who work in the place and the decency and the kindness and the competency of everybody from the people who wash the floors to the nursing service to the people in the (operating room),” said Gilchrist, the hospital's chief of pediatric surgery. “It's just profound here.”
Elliot CEO Douglas Dean said he believed it was “critical for (Elliot) to provide surgical services to save lives.”
He called it “fortuitous” that Elliot was able to woo Gilchrist away from Boston.
“We're very fortunate to have him,” he said of Gilchrist. “I've only run into a few physicians in my lifetime like him. He's an exceptional human being.”
Gilchrist, whose background includes a tour as an Army combat surgeon in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, wasn't convinced he was the right person to head up a new children's hospital.
“I can't even balance my checks at the end of the month,” he said. “I'm no administrator. I'm the world's worst paper guy.”
He was eventually worn down. He said he was told others could handle the paperwork and that he was wanted for his skills in the operating room and his reputation in the world of pediatric surgery.
“They said this was an opportunity of a lifetime and I could make a big difference for New Hampshire,” Gilchrist said. “I've never looked back.”
The new position has meant long hours, which Gilchrist said is fine with him.
“I'm single,” he said. “I wouldn't have been a very good husband at this point in my life.”
Gilchrist said marriage would not be suitable for a man who almost lives at work, spending more time in his office or in the operating room than he does at his home in Amherst.
He's been engaged twice. Neither relationship worked out.
His office has several changes of clothes, four pairs of shoes, a bathrobe and a couch that folds out into a bed. On a recent morning, the couch was unfolded. He'd clearly slept there the night before.
“I don't have plants at home because I can never keep them. I don't have a dog because I'm never home,” he said. “I've spent most of my time here.”
The most coveted feature in his office, though, is the high-pressure shower that was converted out of a closet.
“I've said that I would work for $30,000 a year and a really great shower,” he said.
- - - - - - - -
Tim Buckland may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Hampshire Audubon's Rare Bird Alert
'Nutcracker' at Stockbridge
Stacey Cole's Nature Talks: Fond memories of helping 'Gramp' search for Grandmother Cole's Christmas tree