Close-ups

A Patient's Perspective

Doctor-Patient Duet



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Am Fam Physician. 2009 Aug 1;80(3):280.

I became a patient of Dr. Matthew Hahn more than seven years ago. He took care of all my medical problems and did the usual things, such as conducting tests, prescribing medicine, and bugging me to stop smoking. Neither of us knew the other was a singer for a long time.

In June 2005, there was a library benefit at my club, and Dr. Hahn was going to sing at it. It was then that he learned I had been a professional singer and songwriter, and that I found out that he had been in the music business in the 1980s with the rock band the Young Caucasians. I'm “all country” myself, so I talked him into singing country songs that I used to sing.

The library benefit was such a success that we talked about making a CD. I gave Dr. Hahn a demo copy of some of my songs, and there were a few that he liked, so we got started. We spent more than two years working on the CD at my studio. Dr. Hahn also began performing at special events at my club and around the community. He even wears my old red performing outfit.

J.M. (left) with Dr. Matthew Hahn.

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J.M. (left) with Dr. Matthew Hahn.


J.M. (left) with Dr. Matthew Hahn.

At one outdoor show, a man came up to him and said he had been having chest pains. Dr. Hahn told the man to come to his office the next day—he did, and he ended up getting stented that week. Another time, Dr. Hahn stepped off the stage and treated a woman who was having a heart attack. It's always good to have a musician doctor around!

Our CD came out in December 2007. Dr. Hahn sings 12 songs that I wrote, recorded, or used to perform in person. It was an honor for me to have my doctor do such a great job of singing my songs. I'm still smoking, though.—j.m.

COMMENTARY

We often get as much back from our patients as they get from our care. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I took care of J.M. for years without knowing about his remarkable past. Once I learned that J.M. had been a legendary country music figure, credited with discovering the great Patsy Cline among other things, I guess we made up for lost time. I had been a performer years ago, but had long since traded in my microphone. Making an album of J.M.'s music was a great treat. It was rewarding to make music again, but also to create a tribute to a very special person. J.M. and I have had so much fun that I almost feel guilty. I've certainly learned that good medicine isn't something that happens only in the office.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Family Physicians (http://familydoctor.org)

National Cancer Institute (http://cancer.gov/)

Office of the Surgeon General (http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/smokingconsequences/)

QuitNet (http://www.quitnet.com/)

The editors of AFP welcome submissions for Close-ups. Guidelines for contributing to this feature can be found in the Authors' Guide at http://www.aafp.org/afp/authors.



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