By Jeanne Sager
LIBERTY December 15, 2006 The end of the year will mean the end of an era for Dr. Eric Shapiro’s patients.
Shapiro has been taking care of patients in Sullivan County since the late 1980s, but he’ll be closing the doors to his internal medicine and gastroenterology practice on Dec. 31.
Shapiro said the closure comes because of a medical illness.
“It has been an honor and a privilege for me to have served my community for these past 20 years,” Shapiro said. “I have received more love, hope and inspiration from all my patients and fellow healthcare workers than I could ever have imagined.”
Linda Thompson, a registered adult nurse practitioner who has been working in Shapiro’s office for almost two years, will be establishing her own practice in his stead.
Thompson, the first nurse practitioner in Sullivan County, has been seeing patients since the mid-1980s, first working with Dr. Gary Garfield in Monticello.
She stepped up as a full-time caregiver this year as Shapiro cut back his hours due to his illness.
She’s also signed contracts with the Medical Diagnostic Group in Middletown to have a rotating list of practitioners coming in to the Liberty office to care for patients.
The group includes gastroenterologist Dr. Dhiren Patel, endocrinologist Dr. Elliott Friedman, pulmonologists Dr. John Ferguson and Dr. Douglas Fletcher and cardiologist Dr. Robert Douglas.
“We got some really good quality doctors which is fantastic,” Thompson said.
As a nurse practitioner, she will be collaborating with Dr. Imran Ahmed of White Lake to act as an admitting doctor, but she will remain in the same office in the Ferndale Medical Arts Center with the same staff and same phone number.
“She has my confidence in continuing my primary care practice,” Shapiro said.
Thompson said the last few weeks have been sad for both the office staff and the patients as they prepare for Shapiro’s departure.
“I’ve got so many people saying how wonderful he was, and they’re crying,” she said. “But we know they’re going to continue to get really great care and he’s happy about that.”