Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Block Island Doctor

Photos by Salt Water New England





















41 comments:

  1. Doctors in white coats and bow ties certainly inspired more confidence than doctors in pajamas.

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    1. My husband, at age 60, still wears a long-sleeved dress shirt and tie everyday under his white starched coat. He also wears dress pants and dress shoes to complete the professional look. This was the dress code taught in school, and this professional look is what his patients expect it. I love it!

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    2. Patients also used to dress properly when they went to a doctor's office.

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  2. Oh. My. God. MAGNIFICENT. Some stories are so vivid you can practically smell the alcohol in the doctor's office, the starch in the white coat, the salt air, and the family dinner. This is such a story. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this minor masterpiece of domestic photojournalism.

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    1. Agree, M.R. Touched my heart immediately...that little boy's face, the doctor's caring ways....beautiful.

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    2. These photos are so poignant, I am in tears.

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    3. Agree with Mike Rowe and the replies. Loved this the first time I saw it and love it even more now. Just beautiful!

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  3. I remember the doctor coming to our house to treat one of us children whenever we got sick. This was in the 50's in Boston.

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  4. Oh my, this was great! Thank you.

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  5. I remember well our family doctor growing up in Massachusetts, back in the days of house calls. He was a wonderfully warm fellow who cared deeply about his patients, not the bottom line. He was also frugal, perhaps due to his Scottish ancestry, of which I share.

    When he died, his family cleared out his house and found $10,000 in hundred-dollar bills stuffed between the pages of books that lined his library, an idiosyncrasy no doubt influenced by bank failings during The Great Depression.

    A lovely, bittersweet post that brings back memories of days gone by. How much our pace has accelerated since those earlier times. It’s posts like this that cause us to be a little more thoughtful in our daily lives, more transcending of self, more willing to reach out a helping hand, the hallmark of past generations. It’s posts like this that help keep alive attributes imbedded in our American culture.

    MGC

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    1. Our family doctor treated my grandmother, my parents, my siblings and my children, nieces and newphews. When he died, there wasn't room in the Church, so people stood outside. He too dressed appropriately and attended my grandmother's and father's services. I am now a grandmother and I quote him to my grandchildren. Politicians now talk about "their legacies". What a joke! Doctors like this have a legacy.

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  6. I remember Dr. Gordon Lupin coming to our house when I was a child. A very kind, soft spoken man that drove a red MGA coupe.

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  7. Oh my! What a fantastic photo-journey!! I remember when the doctors (Yes! We had two in our little RR village!) made housecalls and...when they stopped. Thank you so much for posting these. It made me wistful and nostalgic but in a very good way.
    Best,
    Heidi

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  8. I had almost forgotten about the days of house calls. It seems unimaginable in this era.
    On which island wee these taken?

    EJF

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  9. I have so many questions! What happened to the little boy's hand? Did the doctor grow up on Block Island and come home after medical school? Does he live there, or commute? I guess I'll just have to make up my own story......

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  10. This hits close to home... since mid-December of last year I have been dealing with one health issue after another, all minor and most of them probably psychosomatic and exasperated by my hypochondriac tendencies :-), but still it wears on one, if one health issues after another pops up, and if medicine for one problem causes a different problem and/or other side effects... slowly, but surely I am on the mend though.

    This is also the main reason why I have not been contributing to TDP for almost two months.

    These ''Landärzte''(German for country/rural doctors) often have/had to be psychologist, priest and physician, etc., all wrapped into one person.
    Rural health: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_health

    This post also reminded me of the late Dr. Richard Rockefeller https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Rockefeller

    Thank you very much, and very Happy, and very belated New Year 2015 greetings to the entire TDP Community.

    Max

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  11. What a wonderful story told through amazing photos.

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  12. We've vacationed on Block for over 20 years. It has evolved of course, but all in all it hasn't changed that much from these pics and what a blessing it is! Now I will be pleasantly thinking about that divine place all night! Thank you!

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  13. The Island doctor was very nice to me 20 years ago after I showed up at the clinic after spending the entire day at Mansion beach with no water or sunscreen.

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  14. Every comment here says it all -- I couldn't add a thing -- but I would certainly love living there - life, love, listening, simplicity, caring. Anne

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  15. Having grown up with a doctor who treated 4 generations of my family(in Atlanta), I miss that close connection with a doctor who knew one as a person not just as a patient. I bet many doctors today feel the same. As great as modern medicine is, sometimes bigger is not better and more is not richer.

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  16. There must be an interesting story about the brick building in the 9th photo. Is it a lighthouse?

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    1. Yes it is. Block Island has two wonderful lighthouses.

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    2. I actually went to the trouble of looking it up, although I didn't notice there were two. A most unusual lighthouse. And for the lighthouses I've seen, mostly in North Carolina, it is unusual in not being painted in distinctive colors.

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  17. The Jeep. Needed for his job.....And a Jeep actually used for work. Not like many of today's Jeeps. A statement on my coolness.

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    1. Really enjoy the photos of the jeep and the station wagon with the drop tailgate.
      My MD still keeps to the white jacket and dress shirt but I guess the tie was something of a germ factory?

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  18. I am currently a medical student at an American medical school, and these pictures exemplify the type of relationship I hope to cultivate with my future patients. I just hope it's possible in the current money-driven, departmentalized context of our healthcare system.

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  19. Just so very perfect. Thank you.

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  20. These images remind me of the Gene Smith photo-essay on Dr. Ernest Ceriani of Kremmling, Colorado, that appeared in Life magazine in the issue for October 11, 1948: "Country Doctor".

    http://www.slightly-out-of-focus.com/W_Eugene_Smith_Doctor.html

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  21. This series reminds me a little of Eugene Smith's "The Country Doctor" published in Life in 1948. I like how the Block Island doc plays a little music at the end of the day. Of course, if the series was shot today, it might be an urban doc who plays heavy metal guitar at the end of the day, but that's another story.

    Aiken

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  22. Here is the Magnum link to Smith's "The Country Doctor" for anyone interested. Smith is one of my favorite photographers. He really had an eye.

    https://www.magnumphotos.com/newsroom/society/w-eugene-smith-country-doctor/

    Aiken

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  23. I see something new every time you post this. I'd thought it was done in early spring from the light, and I see I was right; Easter bunnies tucked into the corner by the pitcher of (probably)pussy willows in the living room. Enjoy looking at the buildings interior and exterior.

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  24. I found a architects website that appears to have the same Doctor's residence as pictured above.

    https://www.gfontecchio.com/block-island-doctors-residence/m3rvogn9xrktv8gkn9sb3920gub6no

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    1. It still looks great outside, but it makes me so sad to see how it's been remuddled inside. All the character is gone.

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  25. What was the insurance situation like in those days?

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    1. What insurance? No need to worry. The doctor would see you whether you had insurance or not and you never had to pay or show an ID before you were seen. The doctor would bill you directly from his office and his prices were reasonable and fair. The medicine was effective and affordable. The doctor was a member of everyone's family. Those were the days my friend.

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    2. I remember my mother telling me that the rural doctor that treated my extended family never charged the poorer farming families. Most likely he bartered or reduced the fee.

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    3. Well, we had insurance. And people worried if they didn't - or didn't seek treatment prior to Medicare/Medicaid. And while the doctor may have billed you from his office, more than likely, in a medium sized practice, he used a billing service. At least in the New York suburbs (my uncle owned a medical billing company). Prior to HMOs, you dealt with every different physician's office and pharmacy on your own. The paperwork was ridiculous.

      Here's an interesting timeline: https://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/history.htm

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    4. Emergency rooms are supposedly required to treat anyone that comes in. As for patients in rural areas that don't see doctors as often as they need, there are sometimes free medical clinics here and there in rural areas, including dentists, although I've never seen one with my own eyes.

      My father had insurance in the 1950s. Some of the problems facing health and medicine in this country include a high propensity to sue for malpractice, which is insured against but which leads to higher medical costs and more tests when possible. But probably the greatest problem is simply the lack of enough general practitioners like the Block Island doctor. Hospitals are better than ever but I live in a county with over a million people (there are a little over 1,000 people on Block Island), yet there is only one hospital system. They have clinics all over but the main hospital is gorgeous.

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  26. One of my most favorite picture series on this site!
    Please young doctors to be, do not be afraid to open your own practice!
    Do not just automatically join huge employment groups.
    You can make it as an independent doctor on your own!
    Do not sell out so fast!

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