Wednesday, October 10, 2012

1081 Dr. George

1081 Dr. George

There are too many obituaries in this space these days, but here’s another one.  George R. Caso, Jr., 87, of Merrick, New York.

This is a bit late because word of his death last April was as low key as he was as a man and as a healer.

Talk about your old-time, small town doctor!  Talk about a life dedicated to the wellness of patients.  Talk about a man you couldn’t rattle when you came into that tiny, dark, crowded waiting room in his home office with a case of  “dread... this” or the “bleeding... that.”  

He was the son of Italian immigrants, owners of a grocery store when Merrick and the next hamlet east, Bellmore, really WERE small towns, not crowded, bustling and well-to-do suburbs.  From that small beginning came children who were big in politics and medicine.  And the current generations have carried on that tradition.  A dentist, a doctor, a social worker, a lawyer.

Dr. George was not a big man, but to his patients and to his community he was a giant.  Fatherly, gentle, available... but bring a book.  For awhile, he tried to see patients by appointment.  But his desire to serve overcame that flaw.  So you brought a book for the wait or you committed the outdated and dog-eared magazines to memory.  And magazines were much bigger in those days.

This guy worked more hours than there are hours.  When the office closed for the day, or before it opened, he made house calls and hospital rounds.  When you called in the middle of the night and got the answering service, you could hear him pick up the phone and listen in.

When there was a fire and need for a doctor, he was the guy.

Once, a patient was sitting on the examining table with blood pressure in the stratosphere.  “Hmmm,” said the doc  “that’s a bit high, probably should take something for that.”  “A bit high?”  It was so near stroke city you could smell the flames of Hell.

Patient: So how’s your pressure, doc?
Doc: Oh, I don’t ever take my own pressure.  Wouldn’t dare.

It’s not easy being calm.

His office desk was piled high with medical journals older than the magazines in the waiting room.

Patient:  That pile grows higher every time I see it.  I’ll bet the ones on the bottom have the latest developments on the use of medicinal leeches.

Doc:  No, I finally got to that one last month.  Next, I’m going for the diathermy machine catalog.

Don’t get the idea this guy wasn’t up on the latest.  It was a standing joke between us as were wisecracks about the treatment room refrigerator, one of those relics with the motor on top.  “It works just fine,” he said, “but I’m thinking about getting one that defrosts automatically.”

All of Dr. George’s patients were saddened when he retired, even though his successor was his daughter, Gina.  And what an education she had!  Not just med school.  Every doctor has to have that.   What she learned from her dad, you can’t get in a classroom or a hospital.

And what we all lost this past April was a link to an era of care and caring once common and expected, replaced by voracious insurance companies, statistics and strangleholds on patient and doctor alike.


--So Sandusky drew a sentence of 30-to-60 years which under Pennsylvania law means he won't be eligible for parole until he's 98 years old.  The guy continues to remorselessly profess his innocence and pledges an appeal.  But regardless of the results, the damage is done... to his victims, his charity, his community and to his deer in the headlights former employer, Penn State University.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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