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Dr. Newman, M.D., slows down, but not that much

August 12, 2008|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- When George C. Newman II finished his medical residency and internship, he and his wife were looking for the biggest hospital in the smallest town in the Mid-Atlantic region.

That's how they ended up in Hagerstown, with Dr. Newman beginning what would be a more than 30-year career in internal medicine at Washington County Hospital. His practice is at Robinwood Medical Center, with Drs. Wooster, Kass, Bradford, McCormack and Hurwitz as partners.

Newman, 65, had planned to retire April 1, but instead is enjoying what he calls semi-retirement. He has the "honor" of seeing patients an average of five to six days a month, still makes hospital visits and fills in when other doctors in the practice are on vacation.

"I'm not completely retired, but massively slowed down," is how Newman describes his schedule.

Newman grew up in western New York in a family of doctors. His grandfather, uncle and several cousins were physicians.

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He went to school in Ithaca, N.Y., earned his undergraduate degree from Gettysburg (Pa.) College and went to medical school at the State University of New York at Buffalo. After medical school graduation in 1972, Newman married Judy Schmidt.

She also had grown up in a small town in New York and was a labor and delivery nurse, familiar with the demands of working in the medical field.

Residency and internship followed at the University of Virginia. George Newman said the couple loved their time in Charlottesville, Va., with his wife working at UVA Hospital until their daughter was born in 1973.

They moved to Hagerstown in 1975, and their son was born that same summer. They live in a historic stone house on Beaver Creek Road.

The Newmans' daughter, who graduated from Boonsboro High School, is a pediatrician and on the faculty at West Virginia University. The couple's son graduated from St. James School and is a local environmentalist.

Newman said he decided to "retire" because it was getting harder to keep up with advances in the medical field, especially new medicines and equipment. Reading multiple medical journals is also required if one is to stay on top of the field.

"You always want to keep up. You have to say to yourself 'Am I doing the best possible job I can?'" Newman said.

For Newman, the answer to that question was that he needed to do less.

Word of his retirement prompted a flood of cards and heartfelt letters from patients. He said even though doctors are taught in medical school not to hug patients, he gave and received "thousands" of hugs.

"When you practice medicine, you have an effect on people's lives you don't realize," Newman said.

With some newfound leisure time, Newman said he is able to play some golf and spend more time with his three grandchildren, two who live in Morgantown and one who lives in Hagerstown.

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