Human InterestPersonal History


Last week, when I was writing the blog about the increasing number of medical school graduates choosing family medicine, I was reminded that some of the patients I took care of as kids had decided to become physicians. Wow! It was impressive that these kids had grown up and become doctors. That sounded really good!

After giving my memory a work out, I could think of four young men who had chosen a career in medicine; four young males I saw regularly for check-ups and the occasional acute illness who had become physicians. I’m under no illusion that I had anything to do with them choosing to become doctors because only 1 of the 4 chose family medicine. I would hope, though, that each of these doctors noticed something about me or my practice that influenced their desire to be a physician. I did an informal poll of three other family doctors and discovered  they each had only one or two patients who became physicians.

In retrospect, I now recognize that these young men were all very serious minded. They were all good students who were goal-oriented. They all, even as pre-adolescents, were quiet, polite, respectful, and mature. None had been in trouble at school or with the law, and they all made decent grades (although I didn’t know that at the time). All four were from stable, loving families with at least one strong, caring parent. When I interacted with them, they were good listeners and complied with the recommendations I made.

As I said before, one chose family medicine and has a practice in north central Indiana. Two became surgeons—one a general surgeon practicing outside of Indiana, another a local spine surgeon. The fourth went to college and med school out of state and earned not only an MD degree but also a PhD in the specialty of radiology. He is on the faculty of a large midwestern medical school.

Although I haven’t seen any of them for many years, I’m very proud of these young men. They didn’t stand out particularly, but they worked hard and achieved their goal. I mostly remember the problem teens who were cocky, mouthy, even surly, and unlikeable and had drug problems. They are the ones who made the biggest impression. Seeing them in the office made me worry about the future of our society. But these 4 didn’t fall into that group. It’s encouraging to see these intelligent, committed teens grow into confident professionals. I really hope something I said or did influenced them positively and led to a medical career.

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  1. Didn’t you have any female patients that went on to be doctors? Our granddaughter is a junior in high school (Julie’s oldest) and she is on track to go to medical school. I tell her about your blog and what a wonderful physician and friend you have been to our family.

    1. If I have any women patients who went to med school, I’m unaware of it. But I could have easily forgotten it if I did. Good luck to your granddaughter! It blows me away that Julie has a daughter who is a high school junior already!

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