The Shēngxiào, better known in English as the Chinese Zodiac, is a systematic plan of future action, that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes. According to the Chinese zodiac, 1999 has characteristics much like the Rabbit. Clever, peaceful, prudent, cultivated, gregarious, tactful, sensitive, companionable, virtuous, gifted, articulate and compassionate are a few adjectives used to describe the rabbit and the year nineteen hundred and ninety-nine. After the tumultuous and seemingly never-ending Year of the Tiger, 1998, legend has it that this peaceful year would give welcome relief to all. Less energy was required overall as persuasion was used over force and diplomacy and world relations took the forefront.
In January of 1999, the Euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency, replacing the former European Currency Unit (ECU). That February, U.S. President Bill Clinton was acquitted in impeachment proceedings in the United States Senate. In March of that year, A Michigan jury found Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man. These are all events that took place within the first 90 days of that year that Michiganders will probably never forget. But in April of 1999, thousands of people living in southeast Michigan witnessed the partnership of two great institutions that even the country’s best history writers couldn’t articulate how special it was.
In April of 1999, two hospitals with roots in the community since 1888 boldly consolidated services under one roof. The former Sinai and Grace hospitals joined to create the leading community academic hospital in northwest Detroit and relocated to the former Mount Carmel hospital building. Grace Hospital was founded in 1888 and named after one of the founders’ daughters, Grace McMillan Jarvis. Sinai Hospital’s roots go back to a clinic opened by Harry Saltzstein, MD in 1922. Sinai Hospital first opened its doors in January 1953 to give Jewish healthcare professionals a place to practice and as a central institution for the Jewish community. DMC Sinai-Grace is currently the largest hospital in the eight hospitals/institutions that compose the Detroit Medical Center.
Although I don’t necessarily subscribe to the beliefs of the Shēngxiào, this astrological tool used to predict and recommend future actions was very accurate as it assigned one of nature’s most peaceful animals to the year when Sinai-Grace began to service its community with the high quality and safe care it so desperately deserved. As predicted, it continues to do so with the cleverness, peacefulness, prudency, cultivation, gregariousness, tactfulness, sensitivity, companionability, virtuousness, giftedness and compassion that it did as early as 1888.
Reginald Eadie, MD
DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital