Mapping Michael, a portrait of Dr. Michael Jacobs

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Annual Fund

June 2015

Dear Friends,

When I graduated from medical school in 1967, the chief of medicine at the State University of New York wished us all “an illness requiring hospitalization – and a full recovery.” He wanted each of us to know what it’s like to be a patient, to experience the fears and uncertainties, the vulnerability and the dependence a patient has on his physicians.

As I practiced medicine at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital from 1976 to 2003, I often remembered his wish as I cared for my patients. I finally got my professor’s wish in the summer of 2014, when I suddenly developed a leg infection after returning from a kayaking trip in Idaho. My physician, Pieter Pil, admitted me to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital – and my initiation as a patient began.

I was very sick – even fearing at one point that I might lose my leg.

Dr. Pil immediately started me on potent antibiotics and then contacted his infectious disease colleagues at Mass General who provided guidance with my treatment. After one week, with only limited improvement in my condition, Dr. Pil arranged for my transfer to Mass General so that the specialists could evaluate my condition in person.

My transfer to MGH was seamless: all my medical records including my x-rays were immediately available to the specialists in Boston. It was a great example of the perfect integration of medical care across the system. This was very reassuring to me as a seriously ill patient. I spent a full week at MGH before I was well enough to return to the island to complete my recovery at home.

Here at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, I experienced care in almost every department – radiology, ultrasound, the lab, physical therapy and the operating room. Everyone I interacted with confirmed I was in good hands. Even the cafeteria staff was thoughtful and helpful, bringing an extra meal every day so my wife could join me for supper.

I came away from my experience feeling grateful for my professor’s wish of many years ago – but more grateful still for the competent and high quality care, resources, and the simple kindness I experienced during my stay at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Compassion is one of the most important things a physician can bring to the work of caring for patients. Being on the receiving end really drove that home. I hope you’ll be generous in your support of MVH Annual Fund this summer, so our community will be able to continue to experience this exemplary care, right here at home, for many years to come.

Michael Jacobs came to the Island in 1976 beginning an association with Martha’s Vineyard Hospital which continued for 38 years. In 1987, Dr. Jacobs established the Vineyard Medical Services walk-in clinic, where he practiced until last year. He continues to write and teach on the subject of marine emergency medicine. Dr. Jacobs resides in West Tisbury with his wife, Genevieve Jacobs, the artist of “Mapping Michael.”



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