Dr. Fred Banfield

Dr. Fred Banfield is a family physician in private practice in Rochester at Rochester Family Medicine Clinic. He says he and his wife of 50 years have five "wonderful and successful children."

Describe your job.

I talk to people all day. I learn about their clinical complaints; I ask about their mental health, and I may check a few (or even many) parts of their anatomy.

What did it take to get this job?

A lot of long hours and hard work, from third grade through today.


Why does your job matter?

I save lives. Sometimes I know I do, at times I do not. Some people come back and say, "Doc, do you remember 30 years ago? You saved my life." What could be more gratifying than that?

What is your typical uniform?

I don't really wear a uniform, but I generally wear a necktie when seeing patients. I believe I think better that way.

What's the strangest thing you remember from medical school?

I recall my first day of physiology class in medical school. Dr. Morton Oppenheimer, professor of physiology, told the class, "Ladies and gentlemen, 50 percent of what we teach you in this class is correct, and 50 percent is incorrect. The problem is we don't know which 50 percent is which." This statement is as true today as it was then.

If you could solve a medical mystery, what would you do (and why)?

First, I accept that I am not smart enough to do this. I really am not a scientist but rather a humanist. I take and accept the broad outline of the professors and apply it to patients: If the shoe fits, I tell them to wear it. Unfortunately, the shoe does not always fit, so it is my job to "cobble up" a plan B to help the patient better survive.


Tell us about a turning point in your life, personally or professionally.

The three smartest things I did: 1) marry my wife, 2) stop smoking, and 3) go to medical school. The wife was pure luck, the smoking became obvious, and the medical school was an accident.

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