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A Piece of My Mind
January 7, 2020

Primarily Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Cambridge Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2020;323(1):27-28. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.20065

Recently, I ended a 40-year career in the practice of primary care medicine. I did not stop because I was burned out or unable to continue. I stopped because I had too much respect for the profession. Primary care practice, done well, requires a high degree of mental agility. I wanted to stop before I became the medical equivalent of a former all-star baseball player and started batting .200 in the quality of my medical care.

I began my medical training around the same time as the establishment of the first primary care training programs. I was the first full-time primary care physician hired at my hospital. From my perspective primary care medicine always seemed under duress in one way or another.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Carol Gaido-Schmidt |
    I am reminded of the quote by Maya Angelou about how people will remember how you made them feel. I have always tried to make patients feel that during our time together they are the most important thing to me at that moment. It may not be true, I may have a million other pressing responsibilities, but I try my best to hide that from them. It sounds like you did just that- you made them feel valued. They were blessed to have you as their physician.