Dr. Schmidt made Mansfield a better place

Posted Monday, Jul. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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I would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. John Schmidt for his service and dedication to the people of Mansfield. Dr. Schmidt moved his primary care practice to Mansfield in 1986. He worked mostly in practice by himself, treating patients of all ages, until he passed away last week at the age of 63.

I first met John while I was in high school as he was the primary care physician for our family. Near graduation, I expressed my desire to become a doctor and he offered his unique brand of encouragement, “Why would you want to do that? You could work less hours, see your family more and make more money fixing people’s TVs…without any paperwork.” I shadowed him around his office for a few days that summer and he told me “You will be a good doctor” and off I went to college.

After being away in school and training for 17 years, I returned to Mansfield in 2008 and Dr. Schmidt was the first physician I visited about the opening of my private practice. He was standing in his lobby when I walked in. He immediately recognized me and said, “Patrick, I hope you’re here to fix my TV.”

Over the last five years, Dr. Schmidt was a welcome voice and mentor as I established my practice. He was encouraging, supportive and practical when I had questions about hiring staff, managing complex patient issues, refill requests and many other things medical school doesn’t teach. I have been informed he was just as helpful to my sister, Dr. Linnie Rabjohn, who is a local foot and ankle surgeon.

As Dr. Schmidt began referring patients to me for psychiatric treatment, I was reminded of the quality of his care. Family practice physicians do not receive much training in treating mental illness, yet his diagnoses were very accurate, his treatment choices were appropriate and aggressive when needed, and he knew when to refer to our office for a consultation.

I met with several of his patients this week saddened about his passing. I heard funny stories and jokes he had told, but I also heard about diagnoses made and treatments offered that allowed people to continue in college, resume working, and stay married. When Dr. Schmidt wasn’t working at his office, he was the on-call physician for the inmates at the Mansfield jail, which in his words was “not an easy gig.” If you were a patient of Dr. John Schmidt, you are well aware he did most of this sans footwear.

The underlying theme being that John did his best to care, encourage, diagnose, treat and help people feel better. While emotionally and spiritually rewarding, providing care to a large number of people over a long period of time takes its toll both mentally and physically. John found a purpose in his life and lived it and by doing so made Mansfield a better place.

Pat Rabjohn, MD, Ph.D

Mansfield

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