Letter: Farewell and good health

Posted
Editor of the Reformer,

Forty-three years ago, my brother and I got fed up with the direction medicine was heading in Chicago where we had been in practice for 12 and 9 years respectively. The opportunity arose to move to Brattleboro and we jumped at it. Having been born, raised, and having lived in Chicago all of our adult lives, we had no idea what awaited us. For one thing, folks around here pronounced root incorrectly. They called pop soda, and called a shot of booze a pop.

There was one thing that stood out above all others. In Chicago, our practice was not in either of our neighborhoods, so that our patients were rarely people whom we knew or had socialized with. Of course, that is not the case in a small town, and as the years passed, many of you became patients, acquaintances, and friends. Our practice consisted of general ENT and Allergy. As time passed, the Allergy portion continued to grow, and after about 15 years, I gave up surgery and concentrated on allergy diagnosis and treatment. Over this span of time, I've gotten to know more and more patients and more and more about all of them. I have seen them more frequently than have their primary care doctors and, as I often quip, more frequently than some of their families do. We've shared stories, both happy and sad; discussed politics and sports, also both happy and sad; and talked of many other things of interest, and I have loved every minute of it.

Fact is, I have begun to look upon my patients as family and often times they do also. Whereas you could walk into any doctor's office waiting room today and you would be alone in a room full of people. Due to the nature of my practice, folks often see each other frequently, converse with each other, and even make friends. My waiting room looks more like a Thanksgiving dinner crowd than a doctor's office.

As most of you know, my main reason for retiring is the direction medicine has been going. Life and death decisions are being made by pharmacy companies, insurance companies, and hospital CEOs, all looking at the bottom line and none of them giving a damn about patient care or compassion. Members of my profession share some of the blame. Practitioners have become so involved with electronics and computers, that they don't listen to what they're patients are telling them; they are also working under hospital or other managements that tell them how to practice.

So, to my patients, it is with great sadness that I say farewell. Not good-bye, because I hope to continue to see many of you. I have enjoyed our relationships and will always cherish them. I shall be eternally grateful to all of you for your well wishes and gifts. I will miss all of you, and wish you nothing but the best in the future.

Bob Fagelson

Brattleboro, Nov. 29


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