Dr. Richard Pitkin is a rare bird in the world of medicine. Pitkin graduated from High School in the small village of Corinth, NY in 1944. In 1954 he graduated from Medical School at New York Medical College and then went on to his residencies at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and Samaritan Hospital. Upon completing these requirements, he returned to his hometown to start a Family Practice. That was well over 50 years ago and Dr. Pitkin is still practicing medicine today AND he’s doing it the way he always did.
If you want an office appointment with Dr. Pitkin you will have to wait until after 2:00 at the earliest. Anytime before that Dr. Pitkin is making his house calls to see the patients that can’t get to him. It will cost you more for that house call, a whopping 10 bucks, but he makes them each and every day. He travels with the medical bag you would expect an old country doctor to carry. The buckles on the bag broke years ago and some have offered to buy him a new bag but he’s just as happy with the one he has.
Dr. Pitkin treats all patients equally without worrying about how and when they are going to pay or even if they CAN pay. He’s also happy to take services in trade if you have anything he needs. He lives in a very modest house in the same neighborhood most of his patients live in where he raised 5 kids. He doesn’t drive the Mercedes and BMW you would expect a Dr. to have. The last time I saw him, I believe he had a Chevy Malibu.
In 1995 I became very ill. I had no energy. I had no appetite yet I wasn’t nautious. I spiked a high fever. I went to see Dr. Pitkin in his office where he had me do an quick in house urinalysis where he determined I had a problem with my liver. He sent me to the lab for a more comprehensive test and then told me to go home and go to bed until the results came back. That was the last time I had to go to his office for the next six weeks. When the results came back Dr. Pitkin rang my door bell and came into the bedroom with my wife and the results in hand. I had mono-hepititis, mononucleosis that had attacked my liver instead of my glands. His orders were clear. STAY IN BED! Lots of fluids and try to drink some clear broth. He said he would be back to check on me.
He came back daily and did just that. Sometimes I was so tired I didn’t even know he was there. On one visit he apparently decided I needed a shot but he never told me. He knew how I felt about needles and he didn’t feel like fighting that battle. He asked me to hand him a tissue and as I reached over to the other side of the bed to give him one he gave me that shot where the Sun doesn’t shine. Sneaky devil.
Thanks to Dr. Pitkin I made a full recovery in the comfort of my own home.
Dr. Richard Pitkin sees the practice of medicine as a calling. He sees it as a responsibility. He sees it as a chance to make a difference. He still practices and my guess is he will until the day when he just isn’t physically able to. Oh, by the way, Dr. Pitkin even has the “English Muttons” that you would expect a country doctor to have. I wish I had a picture to post, he looks exactly as you are probably imagining he would.
In the midst of this health care debate I just wanted some people to know about Dr. Richard Pitkin. I have a feeling if we had more Doctors with his mentality and dedication, we might not even be having this debate.