Personal Views

On hanging up my stethoscope

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 01 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1426
  1. Oliver Samuel

    Today I retired from a career as a family doctor. In the past few weeks the patients have been notified of my impending departure and most of them have been lovely. I have enjoyed friendly farewells and received many letters and cards and I have been struck by how many people with whom I was involved many years ago have taken the trouble to write to say thank you. I used to believe that the only people to show gratitude were those who had been offered a fairly routine service, while those for whom a great deal of time and effort had been spent responded by changing doctors. I know now that this is far from the truth and I have a pile of post to prove it.

    I was, however, startled out of my smug preretirement euphoria when I realised that almost every day one or two patients who came to see me, often with a minor matter but really to say goodbye, suddenly became distressed and …

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