Geriatrics practices needed in large cities, where seniors can be shunned

LETTER — Posted Oct. 17, 2005

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Regarding " 'Geriatrics is a specialty that never should have happened' " (Letters, Sept. 19): I assume letter author Brian W. Meeker, DO, practicing in a town of less than 6,000 people (Vinton, Iowa), presents many similarities to my GP father, who practiced in a tiny village in northern Wisconsin. They represent the best of the breed of family doctors.

What Dr. Meeker may not have experienced is the "disinterested-in-seniors" attitude and practice of a significant number of internists and specialists in larger cities. I have witnessed, firsthand, senior friends and relatives inadequately evaluated, then treated as if such action will save time and money in the long run. Had they been 20 years younger, the medical care for these patients would have been much better. Such a recurrent pattern reveals a prejudice, in too many physicians, against older patients. It is similar to the prejudice against obese patients. Both of those populations, at present, are increasing. They need all the help we can give them. Geriatrics represents a much needed specialty.

R. Larry Schmitt, MD, San Diego

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/10/17/edlt1017.htm.

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