My story is a tribute to my grandfather, who was a significant and inspiring influence in my life. Dr. Henry Leidenheimer was considered an outstanding humanist by both his peers and patients.
The medical profession subscribes to both viewpoints, on this topic. Dr. Henry Leidenheimer, Sr. believed that medicine is both an art and a science. He advocated these paramount principles, during his 54 years as a physician/clinician.
- Health care and services must be equally administered and available to everyone, without exception.
- Doctors are responsible for the welfare of their patients.
- This must be their primary concern.
Dr. Leidenheimer not only advocated these ideals, but he embodied them everyday in his medical practice. As a humanist, he used his medical knowledge, skills, and experience to promote the welfare of his patients. He endeavored to satisfy, and assuage their needs, with dignity and respect.
I knew Dr. Leidenheimer, Sr., for 16 years. I observed him at home, with family and friends. I saw the way he interacted with his patients and colleagues, at his office and the hospital. I personally experienced the doctor-patient relationship.
He always sat facing his patients and focused his complete attention on them. He was committed to improving their welfare, helping them resolve their health issues, relieving their worries, even if they were non-medical problems.
He taught me, by his example, the importance of caring for the entire person: not just a set of symptoms or the illness itself. I remember when we drove to his office one day; he said, “Marylouise, dignify your patients, by treating the whole person. Sometimes this may include family, friends or fellow workers; these groups can have a significant affect on the wellbeing of your patients. Take time and carefully listen to the voice of their heart. We doctors must safeguard the ‘sacred trust’ given to us, by our patients. My patients know that I will help them through any medical crisis, alleviate some or all of their suffering, answer all their questions honestly. Unfortunately, I am not always able to cure every disease. I can and will give my time, effort, support and love, to them abundantly.”
Every patient, who walked into his office, received exceptional medical care, regardless of his or her ability to pay. He told me repeatedly, “I will not dishonor God, my oath, my profession, or any person, by withholding treatment from them, simply due to a lack of funds.” Dr. Leidenheimer upheld his high principles. On many occasions, patients brought him homemade gifts of food that expressed their appreciation, for his selfless commitment to his patients.
My grandfather, Dr. Henry Leidenheimer, Sr., served the medical needs of thousands of Louisiana residents. His inherent diagnostic ability relieved the mental and physical discomfort, of countless patients. My grandfather’s peers and patients recognized that he is the quintessence of understanding caregiver, compassionate healer, and adept clinician/physician.
He received high praise, for 50 years of excelling dedication. My esteem for him and his sterling qualities will never diminish. Grandpa practiced the Art of medicine and the Science of medicine throughout his medical career.
I hope you enjoy this biographical story. My grandpa Dr. Henry Leidenheimer Sr. It is a tribute to his legacy. I would enjoy hearing from anyone, who reads my inspired story. Thank you for taking the time to read it.