Friday, August 06, 2010

Tribute to family doctor recalls impact of one man on his rural community

An essay in the Annals of Family Medicine recounts the memorial service honoring Dr. John Anderson, a family practioner of more than 30 years in a rural Washington community. "Dr. John had become part of the landscape, and the geography of the town just changed," wrote William R. Phillips and Larry A. Green, two doctors who had been friends of Anderson. The doctors attended the memorial service and were touched by the outpouring from the community. "Most of what we heard and saw that day was about years of service, days (and some nights) of caring, and moments of tenderness. ... What we did not hear was talk about technology, systems, or efficiency. ... It was powerful testimony to the value that personal doctoring offers to patients, families, communities, and to the future."

Anderson was a founder of the National Rural Health Association and through it connected to countless other small towns and health care teams across the nation. "No one felt the need to exaggerate virtues or downplay the burdens of being a good doctor in a small town; the people who dwelled in this community knew John and the job he did." As one person said at the service, "Thank you to the Doc Andersons everywhere." (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This wonderful essay illustrates how a family physician becomes over time part of the landscape of a community. The doctor shares many milestones of happiness and loss in people’s lives and the loss of the doctor is a loss for the community. Part of he tragedy of health care in American – particularly in rural America – is that not enough family doctors are available to serve communities in need.