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My First Family Physician

By Shelly B. Rodrigues, CAE, FACEHP


Decades before I knew what a "family physician" was, I had my doctor, Dr. Bill, living across the street from me. Bill Wilson began his family medicine practice in Brawley, CA in 1957. A WWII veteran who went to medical school as an "older student," he came to the valley with his young family to work at the county hospital. Dr. Bill served our town until he died in 2006. Dr. Bill was one of five physicians on my block (we were well covered from OB/Gyn to orthopedics to radiology), but he was the one at whose kitchen table I got my first stitches, who wrapped sprained ankles, checked for post-bike wreck concussions, dealt with split lips and broken fingers. He answered all my questions, let me take out those stitches and told me, "You're just fine." He tended to a block full of kids and a town full of patients. He delivered one of my brothers-in-law and cared for the other after a post-Vietnam accident. He told us to "buck up," "slow down," "play carefully (but have fun)." He was rough around the edges but had a warm heart and showed us what service to a community really meant. Little did I know then that I would spend my professional career working for his Academy... Hope he's proud of the oldest Beachly kid from across the street.