‘Why I Love Being A Pediatrician’

I have been a pediatrician for more than 20 years now. My editor has asked me to write about how and why I practice pediatrics. Here goes.

I was born and raised in Lexington where my pediatrician as a young boy was Joan Rider.

Even though I was a little bit scared of her, I realized from an early age that she was there to help me.

She put me in the hospital when I was 13 with pneumonia.

I was so sick at that point that I realized it was entirely up to her whether I lived or died.

The realization of that trust people put in us as pediatricians is still carried within me.

As an adolescent, I started seeing Dr. Rider’s partner, Barry Ramsey. His laid-back, matter-of-fact style (be firm when you have to, be accepting when you can) is still the way I approach teenagers.

Being a Lexington boy, though, I swiped a lot of my practice style from Dr. Rider’s husband (and my ophthalmologist growing up), Claude Trapp.

I absolutely loved seeing him. He made each visit seem like a treat.

He was funny and open, and I completely lost track of the time with him when I was sitting in his exam chair.

As a medical student at the University of Florida, I learned much from Dr. Frank DeBusk.

He was the pediatrician who oversaw the rural outreach clinics with us students.

He taught me that general pediatricians are the ones who first see all the strange and sometimes scary things that the specialists often end up treating.

He also taught me that time takes care of a lot of the health issues that children face.

When I went to medical school, I had no idea that I would want to do pediatrics (until I had to do it).

I am glad the program made us try out most of the specialties.

I absolutely love watching children grow up from newborns into adults. There is no greater honor than seeing the children of former patients.

Here is what I believe about taking care of children as a pediatrician:
“Love them, feed them, listen to them, discipline them.
Get all their immunizations as recommended, give them antibiotics only when they need them, and bring them in for routine maintenance on a regular basis.”

There is nothing easy about keeping kids healthy, but I try to make it as fun as I can.