Doctors’ house calls are considered a thing of the past, but not in the appointment book of Dr. Carrol Frazier Landrum, an 88-year-old physician from Edwards, Mississippi. The good doctor will see you no matter who you are, where you are, or how much money you have — as long his 2007 Toyota Camry can deliver him to your location. But now his state’s medical board wants to see him gone.
Dr. Landrum, a WWII veteran, was forced to make a change after crime drove him from his Edwards, Mississippi, office two years ago, and he couldn’t find another space suited to his practice. “I had my car, and I realized I could do most everything out of it that I needed to be doing,” said Landrum, according to the Clarion-Ledger. The paper continued, and “for many in [sic] the town of Edwards’ 1,034 residents and others in the metro area, that car has become a lifeline — it’s the makeshift office of the 88-year-old Dr. Landrum, who is the only practicing physician in the town.”
And many of the doctor’s trips take him beyond the town. The octogenarian — in practice for 55 years — sometimes drives 50 miles to meet people in their homes, in a parking lot, or by the roadside. It’s a vital service in Mississippi, the nation’s poorest state, where rural transportation is limited and an emergency room visit can spell financial disaster.
What motivates Landrum to keep this rigorous schedule at an age when most men are long retired? The Washington Post reported on January 14:
“I’ve always had a heart for the poor,” Landrum told The Washington Post this week, struggling to hold back tears. “I grew up poor, and when the doctor would come to us, and he was happy to see us, I pictured myself doing that some day. I try not to ever turn people away — money or no money — because that’s where the need is.”
Unfortunately, government authorities don’t seem have much of a heart for Landrum or the poor. The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure has asked Dr. Landrum “to surrender his medical license, which he’s carried in his pocket with pride since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president,” writes the Post.