The Heart that Kept on Giving Finally Gives Out After Long, Productive Life

Tampico Terrace was eerily quiet at 9 pm Tuesday night, 10/16.

The big heart that had touched so many over it’s almost 98 years has finally been stilled. Though his  body fought to continue, his heart just couldn’t drive it anymore. It was  used up, having given so much to so many over the years.
Jerry had entered many nursing homes in his day , caring for patients during a long medical career in Berkeley and Oakland  and now Dad was on the other end,  being well cared for as nurses and staff were saying their goodbyes to one of their own.
We all looked on sadly as nurse R noted Dad’s last breaths around 9 pm,one day before his own mother’s birthday and two days before son Don’s.Dad  already had been announcing his 98th birthday, which is actually November 25.
As our Dr. R noted earlier in the day, it would mark the end of an era of the ‘old school doctors,’  before there were hospitalists, when doctors still visited thier own patients in hospitals and some, like Dad, still made house calls. Dr. R’sown father, A , was one of those old school guys and  good friends with Dad.It was also the end of a series of courageous life battles that  won  Dad   another half dozen yearsof good living, going against the medical grain of those encouraging hospice.. And finally, Dad got to live out his life on HIS terms.  He was always able to make his own decisions which we asked him about, often, and honored  them.
Initial ceremonial plans to be announced  shortly

Final(?) Thought from son Burt –  In retrospect, glad Dad never went on hospice. It allowed us to keep up a positive approach to living , keeping the hope alive for Dad getting better  with therapy,even if we  had to do it ourselves.  I think it lifted Dad’s spirits rather than to think he waswaiting out the days… a thought confirmed just tonight by a key Tampico staffer.   As with sisterJoan,  brother Don, and mother Pauline, hope was always on their side and sustained them through what could have been more difficult times, I believe.  And, on a personal note this has been a revelationand mostly positive, yet eye-opening experience dealing with the industrial medical complex.The big reward came with seeing Dad come through time and again with smiles, despite the odds and naysayers against him, something family members Don, Joan and Mother were not as fortunate to experience.
Special thanks to the many who played a part in this mostly positive journey for Dad, especially caregivers Joseph, Herman, Dismus, Leslie,, Dr. Rowe, Mindy, Kristine (who made a big save redirecting Dad to Tampico from assisted living plus ) as well as friends and family,and most especially Dad,, who refused to give up a tough battle which took him through the  not so  hallowed halls of Stanford Hospital to John Muir Walnut Creek and Concord Hospitals, to Manor Care and Tampico skilled nursing, where he  ‘hung on’  so long for me.


Jerry and Burt were working on Jerry’s memoirs the past several years – but he just called them interesting stories. Rather than making them into a book, at least now,  we’d like to share them from time to time. Here’s one of the real interesting ones, repleat with intrigue and all, ‘Why Grandma Cried.’ Enjoy…


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2 Responses to JERRY KAUFMAN 10-16-12

  1. Ann says:

    Jerry Kaufman was one of the finest men I have known–and was by far the best doctor. When I went off to law school, he told me that since I would not have much money, I should just call him when I was sick, so he wouldn’t have to bill me. When the practice of law in a large firm made me physically ill, he talked me out of going on disability. That was the right decision.When my dad died and I was left to care for my blind widowed mother who was 3,000 miles away–and to also deal with my ne’er do well brothers–he said simply, “You’re the father now.” I loved Jerry Kaufman

    • admin says:

      If I never thanked you for your kind words for Dad, thank you Ann. These words help keep his memory alive, which is why we did the website. Yes, he had a special relationship with his patients. I saw it often when patients would stop him on the street to thank him.

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