A Partner And A Guardian Angel

Photos of grandchildren scattered about. Music playing in the background. Tea brewing on the stove. Fresh biscotti sitting on the coffee table. Dick and Marilyn Briggs are a gracious and inviting couple. Their home is welcoming and comfortable in the very best sense, and Dick and Marilyn truly know how to make anyone who walks through their doors feel like family.

Dr. J. Richard “Dick” Briggs began his orthopedic practice in 1967 and immediately affiliated with Mount Carmel due to the residency program under the leadership of Dr. Henry Lacey. In 1972, Dr. Briggs migrated his practice to the east side and became a fixture upon the opening of the “new” Mount Carmel East Hospital, admitting patients the very day it opened. Along with 12 other physicians with the Central Ohio Orthopedic Group, Dr. Briggs spent the next 20 years treating patients with orthopedic surgery needs. Specializing in knee and hip replacements, he dedicated his medical career to easing the pain, discomfort and constrained movement of his patients by performing surgeries to improve quality of life and mobility.

Dedicated, humble, grateful. Those are just a few characteristics that describe Dr. Briggs. Dedicated to his career as an orthopedic surgeon; humble about the magnitude of his contributions in being a founding member of Mount Carmel New Albany and Orthopedic ONE; and grateful to his wife Marilyn and to all of the people who have been a vital part of his journey and successes.

For the first ten years of his career, Dr. Briggs was on call every other night. “Having a good wife to support me through everything was the best part of it all,” he says. “I was very spoiled. My wife took care of me, our home and our family, and because of that, I was able to devote my life to medicine. That would not have happened without Marilyn.”

“Teamwork,” says Briggs, “has been the most enduring part of my experience with Mount Carmel. It was really an enjoyable place to work and spend my time.” Although he worked tirelessly in caring for his patients, Briggs asserts that as a doctor at Mount Carmel, he always felt like a “welcomed guest, never hired hands.” And that is something special.

When Dr. Briggs found himself on the other side of the physician-patient relationship in need of a total hip replacement in October 2015, there was only one place he would go to have the surgery. “Mount Carmel East — that’s where my heart is.”

Dr. Joel Politi, a member of the same group that Dick retired from, performed the surgery. “Joel has been an important partner in Dick’s life,” says Marilyn. “He’s honest, selfless and has great integrity. He works hard and smart, which, Dick is quick to emphasize, are all qualities of a good doctor. He’s not just a good doctor; he’s a good man,” she adds. While Dick was in surgery, Marilyn was joined in the waiting area by many familiar faces, including Dr. Sadar, a fellow retired Mount Carmel East physician, and even Joel Politi’s wife, Julie. “Dr. Briggs and Marilyn are complete people — they are both role models for anyone on how to best lead their life by engaging and giving throughout their community,” says Dr. Politi. Sometimes, life just seems to come full circle in the most unexpected and comforting of ways. “It felt like a homecoming,” the Briggs say.

Dr. Briggs is a gentle, grateful man with a servant’s heart; a heart that not only has a deep love for Mount Carmel as a physician, but also great appreciation and gratitude for the care he received there as a patient. So much so that after his surgery, Dick and Marilyn made a generous Guardian Angel gift in honor of Dr. Joel Politi and his team to the Mount Carmel Foundation to support Mount Carmel East.

“My goodness, we’ve really depended on this facility over the years for (Marilyn’s and my) health,” says Dr. Briggs. “Like our church and schools, we want to remember them in a way that will help keep them going and strong. If you get enough people who feel that way, then our modest gift and the modest gifts of others mean something.”