A lot has changed since Everett Roseberry, M.D., began practicing pediatric medicine in Gainesville in 1978.
“When I first started, office visits were $15,” said Roseberry, recalling a time when patients were billed directly, instead of through insurance. “We saw patients every day of the year, often in the ER, too.”
Roseberry retired this week after 40 years practicing medicine in Gainesville and Baldwin. In that time, he’s treated thousands of children across Northeast Georgia.
While much has changed since Roseberry completed his position as chief resident at Egleston/Emory University and joined Harvey Newman, M.D., Larry Morris, M.D., and Buddy Langston, M.D., at Northeast Georgia Pediatric Group, what kept him practicing so long has stayed the same.
“I think the success of the original four was thanks to taking really good care of people and practicing good medicine in the process,” said Roseberry, who will turn 77 next year.
In 1995, Northeast Georgia Pediatric Group was one of the original practices that merged to form Longstreet Clinic. “I’m fortunate to practice with really good physicians and to have really good support staff who believe in how we practice medicine.
Roseberry said that when he was deciding the type of medicine he wanted to practice, he was drawn to opportunities to take care of patients over a long period of time, instead of the more problem-based or episodic encounters found in specialties such as surgery.
“I still have people who stop me out in the community to tell me about their kids,” he recalled. “One person told me recently that I had seen her, her mother and her grandmother, and that Dr. Langston had seen her great grandmother. It’s humbling and tremendously gratifying to be trusted over that long period of time.”
Roseberry gravitated toward pediatrics because of the “blank slate” children present, and the ability to have a profound impact. “Kids get sick quickly and get well quickly,” he said. “If you do the appropriate thing at the time, you can save a lifetime.”
And children crying never seemed to bother Roseberry as much when he knew he was doing his best to help them. “I knew how I loved my kids and I knew if they were sick, I’d want someone to care for them like I did,” he added.
Those who know him and worked with him speak common themes – his compassion, his heart and his faith. Charlene Hall, the vaccine coordinator at Longstreet Clinic Pediatrics, first worked as his nurse when she joined the Clinic in 1989. Roseberry treated her children and has even treated a few of her grandchildren.
“He cares a lot for his patients, and took care of them as well as their parents,” she said. “He took time with them and tried to put them at ease if they were scared.”
Pam Patterson, practice administrator for Longstreet Clinic Pediatrics, started working with Roseberry the same year he began practicing – 1978.
“He’s a leader – not only with his fellow providers, but he’s also been president of the Clinic. He has a vision for the future of what we need to do for the kids in our community,” Patterson said. In addition to Gainesville, Longstreet Pediatrics now has offices in Baldwin, Braselton, Buford and Oakwood.
Jean Boyd, a longtime nurse at the Clinic, said that in addition to his heart and his compassion, those in the office will miss his expertise. “This department will miss his gray hair and gray beard knowledge. Our providers still go to him if they encounter something they’ve never seen before,” she said.
Patterson said he spends time with newer providers, telling them about the practice’s history and reiterating why it’s important to have a heart for children in this job. “That it’s a calling, not just a job,” she said.
It’s a calling that Roseberry reflects back on with humility and reverence. And while he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Lin, his four daughters and six grandchildren, he admits not having a job to come to every day will be a different experience.
“You can look back and see God’s guiding hand over your life,” Roseberry said. “When I was not knowledgeable enough, he made me so.”
He recalls cases where there seemed no clear answer, when all seemed lost, and yet healing or grace became present in those moments.
“At times, medicine can’t always fix things, so you can point the person to a source of strength and encouragement,” he said. “The Bible promises that God will not forsake us, and as your beard gets grayer, you will find that is truer.”
It is a promise that Roseberry knows well, having endured the loss of a son, Chris, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, in 2013. He references 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5, verses that speak of the comfort that God provides in times of trouble, so that we may in turn comfort others.
“I’ve seen children survive that I don’t think should have, and I’ve seen others healed that wasn’t by medical hands,” Roseberry continued. “That gives me perspective – I’m not the healer, I’m just the deliverer.”
WHAT:Retirement Celebration for Everett Roseberry, M.D.
WHEN:5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 14, 2018 (*friends, former & current patients invited)
WHERE:Longstreet Clinic, Second Floor Classrooms, 725 Jesse Jewell Pkwy SE, Gainesville
About Longstreet Clinic
Longstreet Clinics a primary care and multi-specialty practice devoted to providing high quality medical care at convenient locations across Northeast Georgia. Through a fully-integrated, multi-disciplinary approach, Longstreet Clinic ensures the most appropriate and cost-effective services are delivered in a caring and compassionate manner. Visit longstreetclinic.com for more information about our providers, services and locations.