When we spoke to Keith Baird ’56 for the first issue of Wabash Magazine, NASA’s doctor-to-the-astronauts turned family physician was frustrated by modern medicine’s emphasis on economic efficiency over personal commitment to the patient.
"They’re taking the humanness out of medicine," Doc Baird told us in "So Long, Marcus Welby" (WM Spring/ Summer 1995). "To practice good medicine, you’ve got to have personal involvement, and we’re losing that.
"So what did Baird do after retiring in 2000? First signing on as a volunteer with Crawfordsville’s Christian Nursing Service to evaluate sick children in the Well Baby Clinic, Baird now sees more patients in one month than he saw in the entire first year he began volunteering. Baird also sees a record number of adults in the CNS’s free Adult Health Clinic, where most patients haven’t seen a physician in years. Baird stays at the clinic until every patient has been treated.
"We’re trying to help more people with fewer funds, and Dr. Baird is finding many creative ways to help people," says CNS Nurse Manager Chris Amidon. "More importantly, he treats every person with respect. It means a great deal to people who are sick to not feel rushed, to get all of their questions answered, and to be treated with dignity.
"In May, Baird was named the 2005 Montgomery County Volunteer of the Year—a doctor who simply won’t retire from practicing good medicine.