Family physician, heal thyself.
I would like to thank Dr. Alan Del Castillo for providing a face to what ails family medicine today ("FPs Still Struggle a Year After Katrina," Sept. 1, 2006, p. 1).
I was amused to read his (and presumably other) complaints about having to admit neurology and general surgery patients; perform lumbar punctures and incision and drainages; and see extra patients every day.
As a family physician caring for an underserved population in Twin Falls, Idaho, I do all that and more regularly. I have always felt that by doing those things, I have been using my abilities and training to the fullest extent.
It is no wonder that specialists, insurers, and the general population do not value our services when they hear comments from family physicians about having to use the skills that they presumably learned in medical school and residency.
As family physicians, we are highly trained practitioners who should revel in, rather than complain about, providing comprehensive medical care to people who need the help that we were trained to provide.
Sam Ogden, M.D.
Twin Falls, Idaho