After 42 years of practicing medicine in Brazil, Dr. Rahim Farid will take off his stethoscope and lock the doors to his office. Farid will officially retire March 1.
A retirement party was held in his honor Wednesday night at Traditions. A crowd of nearly 150 came to show their appreciation to the well-liked medicine man.
Earlier, Dr. Everett Conrad, a long time friend and fellow physician, commented about his enduring relationship with Farid.
"He was there before I came and he was there when I left," Conrad said. "He was here for my entire 34 years of practice in Brazil."
Dr. Forrest Buell is the only doctor still practicing who was here when Farid came.
"We always thought we had an interesting combination," Conrad continued. "When Dr. Anil Sarkar, the pathologist from India, and Dr. Farid were here, it was kind of like a little United Nations. We had a lot of interesting discussions about the world situation. It was fun.
"Rahim had his Muslim friends but he tried very hard to integrate himself into our society. I appreciated that.
"He probably was the most generous among all of us about not being concerned about who paid him or who didn't. He loved to take care of people and he always did the best he could. If they could pay him, that was wonderful. If they couldn't, that was OK too. I think he understood, more than anybody, what we have in this country. And I think that's why he does so much to help others. He's given so much back to the community."
Farid, a surgeon and general practitioner, came to America from Iran in 1953. He started working in Brazil in 1961 a year before he became an American citizen.
I asked Farid what he thought and how he felt about his work, the community and the political state of the country today.
"I'm a physician," Farid said. "That's what I love. I've seen many changes. When I first came to Brazil, the hospital had a 125-bed capacity with usually 100 patients or so. We had about 108 employees.
"Madge Scobell was the administrator and Isla Hert did billing and bookkeeping. There were no computers then. Everything was done with pencil and paper. Those two ladies hand wrote and signed all the checks for the employees. They did a great job with what they had.
"That was before Medicare came about and there was always a shortage of funds. Now due to cost cutting and utilization reviews as a result of Medicare regulations, the number of patients has reduced to the present status of a bed capacity of about 20 patients and the patients' stays are much shorter. But the number of staff has increased.
"There's less patients and less nursing staff but we increased bureaucracy. I personally feel the system didn't save money but cut services provided for direct patient care."
Administrator offers different view
Acting Hospital Administrator Jerry Laue agreed with Dr. Farid's numbers for that time but added his viewpoint.
"We're a critical access hospital now," Laue said. "We have a 25-bed critical access capacity and 130 to 140 employees. The difference now is utilization. With out-patient testing, treatments and surgery, our utilization is at an all time high in Indiana and access of health care has never been higher."
Farid thinks Medicare has been good
While Farid thought Medicare had a down side he was quick to say, overall, he thought Medicare was a good thing. It brought in funding needed to provide the technology necessary to improve patient care.
The money poured in. According to Farid, Medicare money brought in MRIs, CAT scans plus the whole coronary unit and advancements in cardiac care.
Hospital has made great strides in anesthesiology
Farid felt that the hospital's biggest problem at that time was anesthesiology. He said every doctor, then, gave anesthetics. It was ether drop and the patients usually slept for 48 hours. There were several cardiac arrests and complications of tonsillectomies were higher then due to the ether.
"I wanted to do chest surgery so we needed better anesthesiology," Farid said. "Then Dr. Conrad came. He had a residency in anesthesiology so it got much better."
Dr. Bond and Dr. Buell hired nurse anesthetists and allowed the hospital to use their services.
"We were one of the first hospitals to use nurse anesthetists," Farid smiled, his eyes sparkling. "We disrupted the turf."
Tomorrow: Farid tells more Clay County medical history and gives his views on America.