Seeing Dr. Anna Konopka is like taking a step back in time. She doesn’t have a big waiting room with a television… a receptionist answering the phone… or a computer in the exam room.
In fact, Dr. Konopka doesn’t use a computer at all. She spends office visits actually looking at her patients — not a computer screen.
And she doesn’t make those quickie, 10-minute visits, either. She’ll answer all your questions and talk with you for as long as necessary!
If you make an appointment with her, she writes it down in a book using a pen. And if you call her, she actually answers the phone.
When was the last time your doctor did that?
Dr. Konopka is what you might call an “old country doctor.” She has been practicing in the U.S. since 1961, and before that she practiced in her native Poland. And at the age of 84, she wants to continue seeing patients as their primary care doctor — and her patients want to continue to see her.
But three years ago, trouble started brewing.
As best she can tell, other doctors in her area of New London, New Hampshire, started making complaints about how she practices.
Apparently having a fancy computer system matters more than being an honest and caring physician.
And now, a New Hampshire judge is saying she can no longer practice medicine.
If that ruling stands, it will mean that traditional values and tried-and-true therapies are being tossed by the wayside to make room for newfangled technologies — ones that have nothing at all to do with your health.
Paying the price for defying convention
You could say that Dr. Konopka has seen it all during her career.
When she came to the U.S. over four decades ago, she had to prove her mettle all over again doing internships and exams — and finally got licensed in two states. She treated patients in locales such as the Bronx and Jersey City before finally opening a practice in rural New Hampshire.
And that should have been her story for as long as she wanted.
But the powers that be had other ideas. Several years ago, some doctors complained that they didn’t like the way she prescribed drugs (something she doesn’t turn to first)… and that she doesn’t issue enough referrals to other physicians in the area.
They made a formal objection about a specific case with a child who had asthma. And although she solved the child’s problem — a rapid heartbeat that she believed was due to a drug side effect — she didn’t refer the patient to a cardiologist.
Despite going through days of “continuing education” classes as “punishment” (what an insult!), the handwriting was already on the wall.
Now, Dr. Konopka is fighting to get her medical license back, with New Hampshire Judge John Kissinger ruling against her at the end of November.
That’s left dozens of her patients (whom she sees for just $50 a visit!) in the lurch. Patients such as 56-year-old Cheryl Hodgdon, who says that what she “loves” about Dr. Konopka is that she believes “the less medication, the better.”
Hodgdon tells how the doctor gave her a remedy of honey and garlic for a cold she had last year and often “prescribes” her patients herbal remedies. “She’s different,” Hodgdon said. “She’s not controlled by any hospital.”
And perhaps that’s Dr. Konopka’s real “crime” — and the reason other doctors and health authorities don’t want her practicing. After all, once patients see her, they realize how they’re being drugged up and shortchanged by the average doctor.
Now, while Dr. Konopka may be unique, it’s still possible to find a physician with that old-fashioned, family doctor approach.
The best way is to look for a doc with his or her own private practice that’s far away from the politics of hospitals and insurance companies… and who specializes in holistic medicine.
You won’t find one on every corner, but they’re still out there, practicing medicine the old-fashioned, caring way. And by putting yourself in their care, you’ll be helping keep them from becoming a vanishing breed!
“Judge: 84-year-old doctor who doesn’t use computer can’t regain license” Associated Press, November 27, 2017, STAT, statnews.com