Dr. George: An Account of the Life of a Country Doctor

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Dr. George T. Mitchell of Marshall, Illinois, shares with humor and compassion stories and reflections about his medical practice of fifty years.

Having grown up in Marshall, Dr. Mitchell writes of his early experiences in midwestern America: basketball rivalries, school-boy pranks, and the traditions passed down through a family of doctors. Dr. Mitchell tells of his brief detour to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering, his decision to pursue a career in medicine, and his medical school experiences at the George Washington School of Medicine before the days of antibiotics and sophisticated medical technology. He vividly describes his subsequent service in World War II as a young surgeon at a military hospital helping injured soldiers resume normal lives while enduring the frustrations and occasional horrors of military life.

After the war, Dr. Mitchell joined his father’s practice in Marshall, where, he observes, he was among sixteen physicians in a rural county with a population of less than twenty thousand people. Within twenty-five years, the number of doctors had dropped to only four. In this memoir Dr. Mitchell conveys his unwillingness to just sit by and watch the health needs of his community increase while medical and other services decline. He, instead, became a community activist, representing rural concerns to the state medical society, organizing the first emergency medical technician teams in the county, masterminding the planning of a regional medical center, campaigning successfully for improved highway safety, and spurring the extension of reliable telephone service throughout his area.

As Dr. Mitchell recounts the house calls, farm accidents, emergency surgeries, and family counseling that comprised the life of this country doctor, he offers the keen insights of a clinician trained to look beyond what others only see.


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About the author (1994)

George T. Mitchell, M.D., was born and has lived most of his life in Marshall, a small town in rural southeastern Illinois where his father came to practice medicine in 1907. After receiving a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, Dr. Mitchell went on to receive an M.D. degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine. After completing an internship at Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana, he volunteered for service in the medical corps of the Army Air Corps in early 1941. Following nearly five years of military service, Dr. Mitchell returned to his hometown in 1946 to start a practice as a country doctor in his father’s old office, where he has continued to serve the rural community of Marshall.

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