Even though “doctor” is beside his name, Everett Roseberry has strived to be more of a physician in his career spanning 40 years.
“A doctor is a smart person who understands pathophysiology. A physician takes care of the whole person,” he said.
And for many families, it’s sadly a career Roseberry will pursue no longer, having retired from Longstreet Clinic, which he helped found in 1995 as part of the Northeast Georgia Pediatric Group.
An event celebrating his retirement celebration is set for Tuesday, Aug. 14, at Longstreet, 725 Jesse Jewell Pkwy SE.
Before his arrival in Gainesville in 1978, Roseberry wrestled with which type of medicine he wanted to practice: pediatrics or pediatric surgery.
“Pediatricians take care of people over the long run,” he said. “Surgeons take care of problems, and when they take care of the problem, they’re no longer your patient, basically. And I was more the former than the latter.”
Roseberry recalled a time when patients were billed directly, instead of through insurance.
“When I first started, office visits were $15,” he said in a Longstreet news release announcing his retirement. “We saw patients every day of the year, often in the ER, too.”
Insurance would play a larger role in years to come.
“The impetus to form Longstreet was that we saw what was happening in the insurance market,” Roseberry said. “Several groups banded together to form Longstreet so you could survive the economic environment you were going to be in.”
Longstreet would go on to set up offices throughout Northeast Georgia.
“People will drive (long distances) for specialty care, but they want primary care close to home,” Roseberry said.
For Roseberry, a pediatrician who served as Longstreet’s president from 2004-06, it was especially important to form close ties to the families whose children he treated.
He said he realized that once families “find somebody they can relate to and trust,” they would drive the extra miles for care.
“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. … It’s humbling and tremendously gratifying to be trusted over that long period of time.”
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 in the news release. “He took time with them and tried to put them at ease if they were scared.”
Roseberry, 76, also has abided by a strong faith over the years.
“You can look back and see God’s guiding hand over your life,” he said. “When I was not knowledgeable enough, he made me so.”
At the end of his career, the Parkinson’s disease would determine how long Roseberry would treat patients.
He’s had the degenerative disease for six years, but “in the last three or four months, the medicine has controlled the symptoms less reliably,” he said. “I’ve had days where I’d get up in the morning … and I could hardly talk.
“When I couldn’t predictably know that I would be all right to be in the office and have appointments made for me, I made the decision to (retire).”
Roseberry is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Lin, his four daughters and six grandchildren.
Otherwise “I’d like to do something to keep my mind active,” he said, “and that would probably be volunteering to the extent that I could. And I’d love to teach, if I can.”
What: Dr. Everett Roseberry is retiring after 40-year medical career.
When: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14
Where: Longstreet Clinic, second floor classrooms, 725 Jesse Jewell Pkwy SE, Gainesville