Nancy G. Thomson, M.D., M.P.H.
[Originally published in the Foundation’s newsletter Prime Scene, October 2008]
Physicians as Legacy Supporters
Caring for Others, Staying Connected
Throughout her career, Nancy G. Thomson, M.D., M.P.H., has cared for those in need by generously providing her time and expertise. Even in retirement that spirit of giving continues with her support of California Pacific Medical Center Foundation.
Dr. Thomson’s medical work was rooted in her tenure at Children’s Hospital (now part of CPMC), where she was a practicing anesthesiologist from 1963 to 1985. After rounding out her career as the infectious disease officer and staff physician/surgeon at San Quentin State Prison from 1991 to 2001, she stayed on as a volunteer. Like the first stirrings of a medical student, she is still drawn to the well-being of others.
As Dr. Thomson reflects on her lifelong career, she adds, “I loved the work and truly enjoyed the interaction with all my patients.”
Beyond Her Horizon
Spurred by her desire to help others and experience different cultures, Dr. Thomson lent her medical skills to those in need all over the world. She served as an anesthesiologist four times in Guatemala with the Family Club and for two months in Korea, and worked as a medical consultant in Japan for nine months. “To visit these countries and do more than just be a tourist was an incredibly rewarding experience,” she says.
Dr. Thomson has faced personal adversity as well—her elder daughter, Ellen, passed away in 2000, leaving her to care for her two teenaged grandchildren. Then in February of last year, a sudden illness left her in critical condition and required her to learn to walk again.
A Writer’s Curiosity
Through her strong faith and rehabilitation, Dr. Thomson has recovered nicely and continues to give back to her community. As her travels abroad connected her to the world outside, her writing has captured her interest in people. She sits on the editorial board of the San Francisco Medical Society as the obituarist. Read her column, “In Memoriam,” in San Francisco Medicine, and you will encounter a warm and avid storyteller of physicians who have left the stage.
If you attend the Foundation’s speaker events for retired physicians or the Legacy Society, you might find her listening acutely, taking notes and asking questions. Dr. Thomson is clearly engrossed in the future of medicine.
That strong sense of community is a key reason why she chose to give back to the Foundation in 2002 with an unrestricted charitable gift annuity. She feels it helps her stay connected to the California Pacific family she has been a part of for so long, resulting in what she calls a “win-win situation.” She adds, “I feel the strength of CPMC is that it is very well run, and an organization that has made me feel like part of the family.”