Physician technology to assist with ultrasound procedures.
Physician technology to assist with ultrasound procedures.

CV prep

History of healing

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Such luxuries come with a price, however. In Lynchburg, it boils down to not just a commitment to the community but also to the profession. Through the medical society, physicians have spent their leisure time pushing through a state law that caps medical malpractice damages—a law the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld on January 8, 1999. Now, the society is aggressively pursuing legislation
that provides for continuous payment directly to patients in the rare and unfortunate instance where
a patient incurs ongoing expenses that exceed the cap amount. “Our doctors want to make sure the money goes to the victim, not a lawyer’s pocket,” Tucker explains. “It’s hard to practice medicine anywhere today. There’s a lot of politics, which doesn’t prevent them from taking care of patients, but it does make it more difficult.”

Four colleges dot the city’s broad avenues—Lynchburg College, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College,
Sweet Briar College and Liberty University—keeping educational levels high and the city supplied with health-care professionals. Lynchburg College’s science departments in particular have prepared students for entry into medical schools for decades. In fact, many of the city’s health professionals received their start at the school, notes Dr. Jim Carico, the science chair at Lynchburg College.

But it’s the excellence in the elementary and high schools that first makes doctors like Carmack and the Sullivans take note. Lynchburg  Public Schools educate more than 10,000 students annually, spending $4,251 per child compared to the national average of $5,212—perhaps one of the best bargains in a town known for them. Nearly half of this revenue stems from state sources, the rest from parent government. Property tax contributes zero to the pot.

The low expenditures are the result of thriftiness—not corners cut on facilities, however. Every K-12 regular education and special education classroom contains a multi-media computer and printer, with direct Internet access over a 32-mile private fiber optic network. Further, each elementary school has a 25-station networked Macintosh LCII computer lab. Technology modules in each
middle school include problem solving, bridge engineering, rocket technology, desktop publishing, electronics, flight technology, robotics, power and energy, communications, and fiber optics.

Schools within the system won the 1997 Virginia Association Partners in Education “School  Community Partnerships” award and were recognized as the best comprehensive high school in Virginia in the Redbook Magazine School Award in 1996. No less than 36 teachers in the system are listed in Who’s Who Teachers, and student-teacher ratios are an impressive 13:1.

Considering the lifestyle, opportunities, cost of living, and educational resources, Reader’s Digest placed Lynchburg, Virginia, in its report of the top 50 best places to raise a family. Physicians here appreciate their Southern Eden.

“Anyone who is looking for a similar experience, come on down,” Carmack invites. “Hopefully you’ll
find the same happiness I have.”

Julie Sturgeon wrote “What’s That, Doc?” in the January/February 1999 issue of UO.

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Julie Sturgeon

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