The medical world has changed to the extent that I no longer recognize it!  What I used to take for granted, I now question. Did doctors really respond to patient needs after hours?  I remember pulling off the road and putting quarters in a pay phone, returning patient’s or the hospital’s call.  Did I really do that or was I hallucinating?

I remember awakening to the phone ringing, taking a message from the answering service and then calling my patient or the hospital, responding to my patient’s need.  Did I really do that?  Yep, I took call seven days a week for years.

I had an exam room at home and, on weekends, would have patients come to my house to be examined.  During the summer, their doc was often in a wet bathing suit.  And yes, I made house calls when appropriate.  My memories of these events are so complete, it must have been real; yet today’s docs look at me like I’m nuts when I talk about the old days.

I started my day doing hospital rounds.  On occasion, I assisted in surgery and even delivered babies. I did a long list of procedures in my office, negating the need to send my patients to the ER.  Now a shoulder surgeon claims he is not trained in elbows or wrist.  Now a message may go unanswered for over a week if the doc is on vacation.  As many of you know, I spent a few weeks in Mexico every year.  Dr Bell covered my practice and supervised my PAs.  What you didn’t know is that, while on vacation, I woke up at 6 am and reviewed every chart note on every patient seen in my absence.

The world I worked in was certainly different than the world I’m currently living in.  In retrospect, I was so dedicated to my patients’ care that I must have been nuts. Of course, most of the family docs and internists I trained with and called colleagues did the same thing.  The closest I’ve come to finding an old fashioned doc is my Gerontologist.  While she does not go to the hospital or make house calls, she does some procedures in her office and is available on short notice.

There are a few dinosaurs still making hospital rounds in the morning before going to the office.  I check in on Dr Bianchi from time to time.  He still practices as I did 40 years ago.  God bless Dr Bianchi.  Lake Zurich is lucky to have an old fashioned family doc.

The next version of medical care is taking root now.  Telemedicine is here to stay, and, in my opinion, TV driven telemed is horrible.  There are commercials for erectile problems, depression, baldness, birth control and others.  The commercial informs you that you will be assessed by a licensed medical “provider.” A licensed medical “provider” is probably not a medical doc!  When you respond to one of these commercials, you are trusting a stranger who will never meet you with your medical care.  You have no idea what the provider’s training is or what degree he/she holds.  That should scare you!

It certainly scares me!!!

Here is today’s joke:  You don’t appreciate a lot of stuff in school until you get older. Little things like being spanked every day by a middle-aged woman: Stuff you pay good money for in later life.

– Emo Philips

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4 Replies to “THE GOOD OLD DAYS”

  1. I remember when my son (now 45) was a patient at GSH and had a reaction to a med at 10:PM. The nurse called you, put me on the phone with you. You said to me, “I’ll be there in about 15 minutes if I don’t get a speeding ticket on 22. You made it…and so did he!!! Thank you!!!

  2. We will never find another doc like you. You were someone special. We were lucky to be your patients for more than 30 years. We think about you nearly every day and pray for your health.
    Tom and Joy Bowler

  3. Well said sir. Enjoying my third month of retirement.
    Forgot all those nights going to the ER to sew up private patients, many of whom called me at home before going to the ER.

  4. We were blessed for 30 plus years to have found the most caring and competent doctor in the world. I doubt I’ll find another like Stuart. Joy and I think about and pray for his health every day. God bless you.

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