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Dr. Kennedy Doctors in general practice, colloquially known as GPs, are not exactly a dying breed, but surely diminishing in numbers. Many older Americans can recall the doctor who served their families 40-50 years ago and we remember those individuals as complete doctors. Whatever your health problem, you could count on getting if fixed at the GP's office. The GP who served my family in Dallas in the 1950s, Dr. Joseph Lamanna, is still living and his son, also Dr. Joseph Lamanna now practices urology in Dallas. Dr. Lamanna, Sr., is now retired in his late 80s.

Dr. Lamanna made house calls when needed. I had asthma as a child and he made several trips to my bedside to literally save my life. I broke my foot playing basketball at age 13 and he casted it. I broke my tailbone at age 11 and he fixed that. Whatever came up, the general practitioner could handle it. These doctors were literally heroes to the people they served, and they still are in rural areas of the country where general practice still survives. I just called Dallas because I found "Dr. Joseph Lamanna" on the Internet and it turned out to be his son who parctices urology in Dallas, just a few miles from the location of his father's office in the 1950s.

Currently the United States Navy has several thousand of old style GPs, formally known as General Medical Officers. These physicians see active duty and dependent family members. The traditional general practitioners are very rare in the civilian environment. The have largely been replaced by physicians trained in Family Medicine with the surgical procedures mostly taken over by surgeons. There is no specialty board for GPs because they are not specialists; they are generalists. We have come to believe in specialization, but if you ever have one of these generalist docs you will not soon be looking for a specialist.

In the past, GPs frequently carried out more major surgery, such as tonsillectomies, hernia repairs, and appendectomies. In the more rural parts of the U.S. this style of medical practice continues. I salute these wonderful doctors. They were the heroes of my childhood.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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