59 years of great care

Published 8:51 pm Monday, July 11, 2011

With all that the health care industry has been through in recent years and considering the many changes it faces as federal health care laws begin to take effect, it’s hard to find much that feels familiar and comfortable these days, whether you’re at the hospital or in your doctor’s office.

But patients of Dr. Philip Thomas in Chuckatuck have been spared the feelings of alienation, along with many of the changes — at least until they began to learn recently that he will retire soon.

Thomas has been a doctor in Chuckatuck for 59 years, which accounts for all but one year of his medical career. Most of that time, he has worked from a small office off of King’s Highway.

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While practicing medicine in Suffolk, Dr. Thomas has delivered more than 2,000 babies, he has served on the staff at Obici Hospital and he has volunteered with the Suffolk Health Department. His influence on patients has been felt all over the city. But he is most beloved in Chuckatuck, where patients will remember him long after he retires in August.

Dr. Thomas practices a kind of medicine that largely has been lost in America. His personal connection with patients has helped assure that they get compassionate, engaged medical care, and those are qualities often lacking in the health care industry today.

He is wished well in his retirement, but his patients can be forgiven for wondering just how they will adjust.