Roy Exum: An Old Man’s Plight

Thursday, January 15, 2015 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The tiny town of Edwards, Miss., which is about 16 miles east of Vicksburg, has about 1,500 people who live within easy reach and every last one of them know Doc Landrum. Now 88 years old and spry as ever, he still practices medicine out of the back of his car, a 2007 Toyota Camry. But if the State Board of Medical Licensure has its way, they’ll soon force him to stop.

A compelling story was laid out in the Washington Post on Tuesday and, if I am any judge, it is going to take the wisdom of King Solomon to settle a very unfortunate happenstance. Dr. Landrum, who served in World War II, has been practicing his life’s calling for 55 years. Now he’s dedicating his services to the poor – whether they can pay or not – and to say he makes house calls is an understatement.

He visits with patients in parking lots, at the beginning of their driveway, outside a general store or wherever is agreed after they call him for help.

“I’ve always had a heart for the poor. I grew up poor, and when the doctor would come to see us,” he told the Post’s Peter Holley, “he was always glad to see us. I pictured myself doing that one day. I try to never turn people away – money or no money – because that’s where the need is.”

The Medical Licensure people aren’t saying much about an investigation that could cost Doc Landrum his license. It seems they became concerned when they learned he was treating people out of his car and some feel he is “incompetent,” which is a catch-all phrase Doc Landrum says is used to avoid a specific charge. He doesn’t recruit patients but responds when people have nowhere else to turn.

“If you are going down the highway and somebody is hurt in a car accident, you stop to attend to them. And if you are in a shopping center and somebody is having a heart attack, you stop to help. It is your duty as a physician,” he told the Washington reporter, “and this is no different.”

The people of Edwards agree. A petition is now being circulated after the NBC affiliate in Jackson, WLBT, aired a compassionate story on Doc Landrum. A former nurse, Margie Williams Divinity, has even written to the state Medical Examiners.

Her letter reads, in part:

“I beg the state board of medicine to allow Dr. Landrum to continue practicing medicine. He is one of the smartest physicians still practicing. His knowledge base is vast. His diagnosis are always on point and he refers patients and always follow up with his patients. He cares about people, about treating them.

“He doesn’t care about all of the billing insurances and Medicare and all of the politics associated with medicine. He just wants to help people. He is still very sharp mentally at 88 probably because he did not let all of this political monopoly on healthcare stress him out by not continuing to partake. He is 88 (years old.) Let him do what he enjoys and at the same time continue to serve his community…”

H. Vann Craig, the executive director of the state Medical Examiners, said simply, “The mission of the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure is to protect the public.”

Supporters of Doc Landrum contend the physician is doing exactly that. He seems five or six patients a week, usually people he served when he had an office and, he claimed, “We’re dealing with just the immediate problem. It isn’t a general physical examination, but things like sore throats, flu symptoms or skin rashes. I tell them, if you’re not better day-to-day, call me. And I give them my number.”

Carroll Frazier Landrum grew up picking cotton in Mississippi during the Depression. During World War II he was a sonar tech on a destroyer in the South Pacific and served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He then went to Tulane, got his medical degree, and had a private practice for half a century.

But he told the Post’s Holley this week, “After all these years, I still want to be like the small-town doctor who treated us when we were growing up – Dr. Coursey. He was good and always happy. There never was a time when he treated anyone like they were not someone.”

So, you see, it is going to take King Solomon to rule on this one. Doc Landrum, a small-town doctor in Mississippi, is two years shy of his 90th birthday and all he wants to do is “treat anyone” like they were someone, which should be the goal of every human being on this very day.

Time To Enforce School Rules - And Response

Halloween Candy

Walden Neighbors Help Launch Alderman Campaign For Thomas Gallant

I am so glad that Candy Johnson, (ex-superintendent's wife) and the Urban League, want to call for interventions and cultural competency education across the district. I don't think this will ... (click for more)

The night sky was black, the moon was pale When through the woods came a banshees wail If asleep, I wish to awake from this dream So I can escape this unearthly scream Then from across ... (click for more)

Locals may have noticed that boots are already on the ground throughout Walden to spread the word about Thomas Gallant’s candidacy for the soon-to-be-open alderman position. Sarah McKenzie, who ... (click for more)


Time To Enforce School Rules - And Response

I am so glad that Candy Johnson, (ex-superintendent's wife) and the Urban League, want to call for interventions and cultural competency education across the district. I don't think this will increase test scores or improve discipline. Every time an 18-year-old adult student won't obey a teacher, an assistant principal and a police officer, those without any knowledge of how to ... (click for more)

Halloween Candy

The night sky was black, the moon was pale When through the woods came a banshees wail If asleep, I wish to awake from this dream So I can escape this unearthly scream Then from across the mountainside Death on a pale horse begins his ride It is no joke, it's not a game Especially if the owls have called your name I've heard stories, I've read the folklore Soon ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Man, 38, In Critical Condition After He Is Shot Multiple Times On E. 40th Street Off Wilson Road

A 38-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot multiple times on Tuesday night. The incident happened around 8 p.m. at 700 E. 48th St. just off Wilson Road. Police were advised that the victim was suffering from a life-threatening injury. Police were told this was a potential dispute between two people that turned violent. The victim was taken to a ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Gets 38-Year Sentence In Dalton Public Indecent Exposure Cases

Ronald Andrew Henry, 38, formerly of 3331 Pinewood Avenue Apt B, Chattanooga, was convicted on Wednesday on two counts of child molestation and one count of public indecency. Henry was sentenced to serve a total of 38 years in prison without the possibility of parole, the maximum allowable for those offenses. Superior Court Judge Jim Wilbanks presided over the trial and sentenced ... (click for more)


Mocs' Ford, Person Tapped As TSWA Football Players Of The Week

Chattanooga’s Ailym Ford and Jay Person were named the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association for their efforts in contests from September 26-October 2. Ford rushed 28 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the Mocs’ 24-16 victory at East Tennessee State. The Florence, S.C., native carried 18 times ... (click for more)

Dan Fleser: Bayou Weirdness Ahead For The Vols

The kickoff for Tennessee’s football game at LSU on Saturday is all wrong by bayou standard time. The Tigers typically prowl their stadium and stalk their opponents by moonlight. The atmosphere, no matter how hostile it will be for a 11 a.m. (central time) start, won’t match the decibel level of a night game, when the setting typically is fueled by a full day of . . . er, well ... (click for more)