ANDERSON, Ind. — At age 74, Dr. David Martin said he tends to get one question asked frequently – when is he going to retire?
His answer: never.
“I am going to work here until I die,” he said. “I don’t plan to retire. As long as I’m able to do it, I’m going to be here doing it.”
This month marks 40 years of practicing medicine in Anderson for Martin, who is an independent dermatologist.
Martin said he does not know if he still has any patients who have been with him since opening his practice in 1973, but he does know of patients who have been with him for more than 35 years.
“My patients are my friends,” he said.
Treating patients who he considers as his friends has made it easier for Martin to do what he said is the most important thing he has learned in his practice.
“I’ve learned you need to listen to people,” he said. “If you listen to them, they are going to tell you what you need to know, and don’t be surprised by what you find, you might find anything. If you listen, they are going to tell you what is wrong.”
Martin said it can be easy for a doctor to get in a hurry and only listen to one or two things a patient may have to share, see signs of a condition, and then move on. He said taking the time to listen to his patients helps him to make a better diagnosis when treating a medical condition.
During his career, Martin said he has treated one case of orf – an infection of the skin a person can get from sheep – and complex cases of mycosis fungoides. He said mycosis fungoides, a type of skin lymphoma that can be fatal, is difficult to treat and difficult to cure.