A Fortunate Family Physician

Johanna Shapiro PhD

Having just read his wonderful set of essays in the May/June issue of Annals of Family Medicine, I must say thank God for David Loxterkamp, and hope that as a “cradle Catholic” he does not find that sacrilegious. These essays remind us (even those of us who are not family doctors!) with poignancy, authenticity, and compassion what being a family doctor is all about. In “A Change Will Do You Good,” Loxterkamp asks provocatively, what need for family doctors when “midlevel providers and the internet” can accomplish pretty much the same thing? Of course his intention is not to undermine family medicine, but to revivify it, to persuade, to motivate(1) the specialty, much like a recalcitrant patient, into have the courage to reclaim its heart and soul back from managed care, boutique practice, and hospital employers. To drive home his point, Loxterkamp focuses on the process of facilitating and birthing change in patients as a metaphor for all the intangible but essential ways the family physician works with her patients to ward off despair and inspire hope in them both.

Read the full article