Nov. 20, 2018, was a big day in the small town of Wylie, Texas. Mayor Eric Hogue issued an official proclamation making it "Dr. Reade Quinton Day" throughout northeastern Dallas County. It was a prestigious, unexpected honor meant to highlight and celebrate Dr. Quinton's crime-fighting work as "Deputy Chief Medical Examiner of the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas." But it also recognized his efforts to combine "two of his passions, medicine and magic, to educate and entertain his peers, children and the general public."
But it's the last line of the proclamation Dr. Quinton says he'll treasure most. The one in which Mayor Hogue urges "all citizens" of Wylie "to join me in honoring Dr. Reade Quinton for his dedication, commitment and friendship to our community; and wish him and his family well on his new career opportunity with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota."
"I thought that was pretty adorable," Dr. Quinton, a senior associate consultant in Mayo's Division of Anatomic Pathology, tells us.
Adorableness aside, since arriving at Mayo Clinic this past January, Dr. Quinton has employed the same passion for medicine and magic that helped make him the pride of Wylie, Texas. "My interest in magic didn't start until medical school," Dr. Quinton says. One of his instructors, retired cardiovascular surgeon Watts Webb, M.D., would end his lectures with a question: "'You guys want to see a couple of card tricks?' That was when I first caught the 'magic bug,' as magicians say," Dr. Quinton tells us.
He was not just interested in the illusion and sleight of hand required to perform magic, but also in the many ways that the art of magic can be applied to art of medicine. "My first connection between magic and medicine was during my pediatric rotation, where I quickly realized if I just sit down and interact with young patients before I start my actual workups, they always responded better," Dr. Quinton says. "That was my lightbulb moment."
It was also a moment that helped Dr. Quinton see that the art of magic has much in common with the art of medicine. And that's a lesson he tells us he tries to put into practice through his work as a forensic pathologist for Mayo Clinic. "A lot of the same principles for performing anything — not just magic — can be used in forensics," Dr. Quinton says. "When you go to testify in front of a jury, you can be incredibly brilliant, but if you can't connect with that jury, they won't care about what you're saying to them. And so you have to be able to use some of the stage presence you learn as a magician to connect with juries." That's also true, he tells us, "with patient interactions and patient care."
That was just one of the topics of discussion between Dr. Quinton and Mayo Clinic's other in-house magician, radiologic technologist Joe Swicklik, when the two masters of illusion recently met for coffee. "I reached out to Joe as soon as I got his name, and we met and bounced ideas off of each other," Dr. Quinton says. "His focus is different than mine because he still gets to interact with patients directly. But our goals are the same: How do we best interact with a patient, family or even a jury in order to practice medicine while improving the overall human interactions along the way?"
We're biased, of course, but that sounds pretty magical to us.
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