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MELVIN JENKINS : A Kind of Relationship Built Over Time

September 21, 1993

Seven years ago, Melvin Jenkins began experiencing chest pains and was rushed to the Greater Valley Medical Group, a clinic in the San Fernando Valley.

He was greeted by Dr. Donald Rebhun, who quickly put Jenkins through a series of tests and a thorough examination. Despite Jenkins' worry, he soon began to feel secure, even important, in the doctor's presence.

"I felt, 'Hey, this is good. They are worried about me,' " Jenkins says, chuckling at the memory. "I decided, I like this man. I think I'll ask for him again."

And he did. For seven years, Jenkins and Rebhun have enjoyed what appears to be the ideal doctor-patient relationship: personal, friendly and frank.

It's the kind of relationship that is built over time, and with time, says Jenkins, 66.

"It always seems like he has enough time for me," Jenkins says. "It's not like, 'What's wrong with you?' He checks you over first and then says what's your problem? He sits down and takes notes and then you discuss your problem. He is always willing to listen."

It was over several years of monitoring and unhurried discussions that Rebhun and Jenkins decided that Jenkins should undergo a hip replacement, from which he is now recovering.

While Jenkins is recovering nicely, he is distressed about leaving Rebhun's care. Jenkins is moving from the Valley.

"I'll certainly miss him. In fact, I don't know what I'll do," he says. "I might be able to keep seeing him because we are not going to move far away. I've never understood why people switch doctors."

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