When Dr. Paul Smith shared with his longtime patient, Chai Mann, that he was planning to retire, Chai started reflecting on how meaningful his relationship with Dr. Smith was.
“It’s the end of an era for me. Over the years I’ve turned to Dr. Smith countless times to keep me healthy or help me navigate specialty care with other Virginia Mason providers,” Chai says.
Chai’s specialty care has spanned oncology, cardiology and urology. He’s had several procedures and credits Dr. Smith for being his advocate for more than two decades.
“A lot of doctors wait for you to tell them what you’re feeling and then investigate. Dr. Smith looks for things that I haven’t yet felt the impacts of, and might not feel until I’m really sick,” Chai says. "That's true preventative medicine, which Dr. Smith has been providing to every patient for his entire career."
Years ago, Dr. Smith was certain he heard something irregular in Chai’s heartbeat. He sent Chai to Virginia Mason’s Center for Cardiovascular Health to see Dr. Sara Weiss. After a couple of tests, Dr. Weiss found a problem with Chai's heart that would eventually require surgery.
“I believe primary care is the basis of health," Chai says. "I’ve had a visionary provider who has worked to make sure that I'm feeling as good as I ever have at nearly 77-years-old.”
In honor of Dr. Smith’s retirement, Chai and his wife, Joy, decided to make a gift in his name to ensure primary care providers can continue to deliver great care.
Reflecting on his career, Dr. Smith feels fortunate to have spent so much time with the Virginia Mason Medical Center, where he can tailor each patient's care to their specific needs.
“The joy of practicing primary care comes from getting to know our patients well, which is essential in navigating our health care journey together,” Dr. Smith says. “At Virginia Mason, we are also so fortunate to be supported by world-class specialists that ensure our patients are getting the best possible care.”
And he’s grateful for patients like the Manns who have made his job so fulfilling.
“It is a tremendous privilege to have been Chai’s physician over the years,” Dr. Smith says. “I am especially grateful for the trust and for the courage that Chai and Joy have so generously expressed to me and the entire care team.”
While the Manns will miss Dr. Smith, they are delighted for his next chapter and wish him a healthy and happy retirement. And as Dr. Smith gets closer to his final clinic appointments, the Manns hope he feels the gratitude his patients have for his commitment to their care.
“We’ve both had wonderful care at Virginia Mason. The support Dr. Smith has given us in the clinic has had a huge impact on Chai’s quality of life in retirement,” Joy says. “Because we’re healthy, our kids and grandkids get the best version of us.”