In memory of Dr. Chapin, a great all time physician.
By JOSEPH WEISS, MD Detroit Medical News, Wayne County Medical Society Aug 7, 2000
Dr. Sidney Chapin- the physician prophet
In 1958, Sidney Chapin saw that: "Home Health care is more than a house call." He pointed out then, that a home visit costs far less than a day in the hospital, and that the patient is spared the risk of bacteria and error in medications and procedures that comes
with hospital care. He noted that a visit to the home gives the person rendering care a direct look at the social and emotional environment of that patient. Furthermore, as he put it: "The program centers around the physician and his patient."
In 1964, before Medicare existed, and before the phrase "managed care" was coined, he issued a warning to doctors about what the future could bring. He saw the wedge between patient and physician created by the technical advances in medicine. Dr. Chapin anticipated the pressures upon the profession because of public demand for further medical care. He warned doctors to oppose the incursions by hospitals into the independence of the medical staff. He foresaw the friction that would come when government tries to legislate health. He pointed out the dangers to doctors of allowing the public to take unchallenged, the view that physicians were motivated solely by self-interest.
He urged the profession to explain its efforts on patients' behalf and to do so actively with the politicians, the press and the public. He challenged doctors to bridge the gap, in his words: "between the astounding advances of medicine and the public sense of inadequate medical care and unfilled health needs." Sidney Chapin was born in Vermont in 1907. His family soon moved to New York City where he grew up, obtaining his medical degree from New York University in 1933. He prepared himself further with three years of residency in internal medicine at Bellevue Hospital. He began private practice in 1936,
volunteered for the military at the outbreak of World War II and spent the following four years with the Navy. He did not want to bring up his family midst the pressure and crowd of New York City, and was convinced by fellow officer, Dr. Harold Kullman of Dearborn, Michigan, that Dearborn was the place the Chapin family was seeking.
He came there in 1946. In the next 18 years, his efforts brought him to appointment as
medical director, Visiting Nurse Association, Home Care Program (1955),
recipient of Dearborn's Distinguished Citizen award (1958),
president of the Michigan Heart Association (1963-64),
and chief of staff of Oakwood Hospital (1964-66).
To come was election as president of the Wayne County Medical Society (1973), and selection as Physician of the Year by the National Association of Home Care (1987). He remained active as an advisor to the Visiting Nurses Association up to his death in 1993, at age 85. He never stopped looking ahead. From 1975 to 1993, he was an advocate for the cause of preventive medicine. He realized that the miracles of medicine were necessary, but not sufficient, to secure the status of the medical profession in this country. In his words: " We must end our emphasis on medical care for the sick, and turn our efforts to keeping the healthy well."
We would do our duty to the profession and more, if we made his visions our deeds.