What a Doctor Sees
As the youngest of 12 children growing up on a farm in Hayti, Mo., Thomas Cooper learned to work “from can to can’t.”
That was his mother’s expression. “It meant from when you can see in the morning until you can’t see at night,” says Cooper, MD ’78, a retired family physician from Fulton, Mo.
Even during his family medicine residency, a period of training notorious for long stints of duty, Cooper moonlighted at local emergency rooms to help support his wife and children. He continued the ER work for a couple of years after his residency to pay off student loans as quickly as possible.
But Cooper soon started a family practice in Fulton. He had all the work he wanted, and then some. “In that kind of practice, you do everything — deliver babies, fix broken bones, do minor operations and assist on tonsillectomies and appendectomies.”
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