Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A lady in Cameron, Texas is trying to obtain sainthood for Dr. Eduard Rischar, a physician who practiced in Cameron during the first part of the 20th Century. I don’t know about being a saint but reading about the doctor sure makes for an interesting story.

Dr. Rischar was born in 1872. He came to Cameron in 1914 and practiced there until his death in 1948. He did much for the community, including help build a Catholic Church and a hospital, which he gave to the Sisters of Charity. The Sisters operated the hospital until it suffered the demise of many rural hospitals in the 1980’s.

The interesting thing about Dr. Rischar’s story is that he represented a transition in American Medicine from the Horse and Buggy Doctor to the modern era of medicine. He was from the school that had very little in the way of effective medications and treatments to the time of antibiotics with modern surgery and technology. Dr. Rischar represented those who had little to offer the patient other than a sympathetic ear and a gentle hand. Drs. today have no time to listen and have been largely replaced by technology. Paper work has also taken their time away from patients.

Rural hospitals, such as the one used by Dr. Rischar, have also disappeared from the scene. Modern technology became unaffordable for the small hospital and Medicare and other forms of reimbursement spelled the end of many hospitals. No longer were hospitals used as places for rest and recuperation from illness. Increase in specialization and ease of transportation to large medical centers helped put the final nail in the coffin of rural hospitals and the Dr. Rischars of the world.

The world of medicine has greatly changed since the days of Dr. Rischar. A simple urinalysis and a CBC were high tech test in his day and he might be paid with a dozen eggs or a chicken. People didn’t have AIDS and other exotic diseases and deaths from cancer and heart attacks were low because folks usually died from pneumonia or other infections by the time they were 50.

Dr. Rischar probably doesn’t deserve sainthood, but I wish the modern physicians had his caring attitude for patients and as leaders in their community. Those days seem to be Gone With the Wind, but they are worth remembering and reminding our youth about such people and times.


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