Healthlinks Charleston March/April 2020

62 | | C H A R L E S T ON CO U N T Y M E D I C A L S OC I E T Y HOW THE MEDICAL FIELD HAS CHANGED A Q&A By Theresa Stratford, managing editor of HealthLinks magazine, with Drs. Peter DeVito and Biemann Othersen, both local retired surgeons. By Theresa Stratford HEALTHLINKS: In what ways has medical school changed? DR. DEVITO: “I remember when I was in medical school at Duke University in the 1960s, the dean said to look to the right and then to the left and that one of those people would not be in med school in a year and he was right. But, on the other hand, the professors would also say that we admitted 70 students and we will graduate 70 doctors. It was so hard back then. Now young people are just pushed through. The explosion of technology has really tampered with the artistic technique of surgery, and the one-on-one relationship with the patient is not emphasized as being important anymore. We used to do four basic areas for rotation for internships. Those were surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics and OB. We would also do some psychology. But that has all changed due to all the new subspecialties that were not around when I was in school. Some specialties like ophthalmology will have to have a residency secured.” DR. OTHERSEN: “I started medical school in 1949. I felt like I was just trying to hang on back then and was just barely keeping my head above water. My son went to medical school and enjoyed it. His experience was so different than mine. The biggest difference is all the technological advances, and these doctors have to keep up with all that. I believe that softer touch has become lost. High tech demands high touch.” As Dr. Richard Gross, a retired pediatric orthopedist who graduated from medical school in 1965 and recently won a Humanitar- ian Award from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, said, “Health care delivery and medical care cost remain as the major concern of most Americans. The perception of many patients is that they are alone in wading through ever-increasing complexity. They feel they are alone dealing with powerful insurance companies, alone fighting big pharma to get their medica- tions, alone when looking for healthier ways to live and alone in the doctor’s office with no one explaining or interpreting where they stand.” At HealthLinks magazine, we are in constant contact with doctors and other medical professionals on new and innovative med- ical inventions that make living a healthy lifestyle easier or at least more attainable. Surgery is less invasive, with quicker recovery times, procedures like Lasik have become much more commonplace and there’s a “fix” to almost any cosmetic blemish you might want removed. For retired surgeons like Drs. Gross, Peter DeVito and Biemann Othersen, who practiced in the Charleston area for over 40 years, beginning their careers in the 1960s, they have seen firsthand the changes – some good and some bad. We sat down with Drs. DeVito and Othersen to find out just what stands out as the biggest changes and what they think could be improved.