I read this article the other day about this small town Doctor, who still makes house calls. As I read the article found here:
I was impressed with what this sweet Doctor, and for what he was doing for the people who are his patients in this small town of Georgia.
In my quest for Doctors throughout my life and the life of my kids...I still think it is ok to uphold some of the things (standards) that this dear Doctor does every day. I understand the world has gotten bigger and more complex... but some things should always be there, when you work with people. I will highlight a few of them in this article. I know that many of you would almost laugh when you think of ever finding a Doctor who is like Dr. McMahan. Still there have been a handful of Doctors that we have found like that... and how they have blessed our lives...has been amazing. So I am grateful for their compassion and concern (real concern) for me and my family!
He is there to be the best Doctor for these people, money doesn't drive him. Personal connections do make all the difference!
Imagine this: You are a young doctor who has recently graduated from
medical school. An excellent student, you could choose to practice
almost anywhere—including Atlanta, where your advising professor has
connections. Instead, you set up shop in a small southern town, much
like the one you grew up in. It's the kind of place where the neighbors
all know each other, where families have lived for generations and still
attend the same church. It's also a place where a young doctor is
unlikely to get rich.
He listens and looks them in the eye!
I notice that with each patient, McMahan listens intently and looks them
in the eye when he talks. He acknowledges later that the eye contact is
deliberate. "That's the No. 1 complaint I hear about other doctors," he
says. "Patients say, 'He never looks at me! He's always on the
computer.' So I always look up. I put my hand on their shoulder." He
shrugs. "Sometimes compassion is even more important than a
He uses the experiences that he has had to go through in his life, to support and understand each patient!
Such personal attentiveness does take effort, McMahan admits—especially
given that computerized medical records have become ever more
complicated, with dozens of menus that a physician must click through
during each visit. But he's sympathetic to patients who feel as if
they're being ignored. When McMahan's then 24-year-old son was diagnosed
with a rare cancer in 2008, the family sought treatment at Memorial
Sloan-Kettering in New York, and the process deepened his perspective.
"When you carry some of the battle scars that your patients carry, you
meet them at their level," he says.
He goes the extra mile!
Besides running his private practice, the doctor spends one morning each
week making the rounds at the local nursing homes, checking medications
and visiting with patients he knows. He also treats patients at the
local detention center, a mixed-use facility in Ocilla that houses
immigrations and customs detainees, along with federal inmates.
He is trying to teach them to over come certain habits that are damaging their health...that is a hard sale!
Starting out, McMahan provided mostly acute care, what he describes as
"lumps, bumps, rashes, colds, sore throats." These days, though, he's
more likely to see patients with multiple chronic diseases: diabetes,
high blood pressure, heart disease. Most are overweight, and many smoke.
(In Ocilla, smoking is still permitted on the grounds of the local
hospital—a policy McMahan has been trying to change.)
As the doctor to a high-risk population, McMahan spends much of his time
trying to convince his patients to eat better and to exercise:
unpopular prescriptions in the rural South. "It's like the Pogo
cartoon," he says ruefully. " 'We have met the enemy, and the enemy is
As a doctor,
McMahan says, he can sometimes feel powerless in the face of people's
habits. "We're a bunch of hardheaded southerners," McMahan acknowledges.
"But we're talking about societal issues now. Is health care a
privilege or a right, and who pays for it? And how much do you get when
there's a limited resource?"
Since starting out, he adds, cutbacks by insurance companies have eaten
away at the modest profit margin he once relied on. "For many family
doctors, it's nearly impossible to make a living now," he says. "You
have to make enough to pay the light bill, and to pay your
employees—while still trying to be compassionate and not overcharge
patients. That's why so many physicians these days are selling their
For a moment, McMahan seems glum, but then he shrugs the mood off.
He is doing what seems like the impossible but he likes what he does and knows that is what he is suppose to do!
"The truth is, this is what I want to do," he says, as we walk out into
the warm night air. "I like being a family doctor. I believe all
Americans deserve a physician that they can rely on. That's one thing
I'd like to publicize: You can get good care in a small town. And I'm
doing what I can to keep it that way.
What a great article, and what a great concept!
Good night dear friends!
"A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more
even than the whole man - he must view the man in his world." ~Harvey
A Short History of Medicine
2000 B.C. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C. - "That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 A.D. - "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 A.D. - "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. - "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 A.D. - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root."