How to say goodbye?

When a medical specialist ends his practice and says goodbye, a reception is usually organized by the hospital. There,  a large number of patients, hospital employees, fellow specialists, general practitioners, and other interested parties stand in a long line waiting for their turn to exchange a few kind words, reminisce, exchange good wishes and shake hands twice, in greeting and in farewell. SHAKE HANDS!!!! Well, that was a problem for me. The last guest probably would have pulled my right hand off my forearm at the wrist.


The alternative: don't shake hands and tell everyone why I don't or can't do that? An unappealing prospect. Apart from that, standing for a long time, my back wouldn't have much appreciated that and have protested violently.

Well, the decision was made quickly: no farewell reception. Of course I didn't want to leave the hospital like a thief in the night, so a few days in advance I sent letters to all fellow specialists (who had of course been aware of this for a long time), general practitioners, all in-patient wards, every section in the hospital including management (yes, they already knew it of course), reception, physiotherapy, technical service, human resources, patient service office, purchasing department, restaurant, cleaning service and a large number of individual employees of the hospital with whom I had had many personal contacts over the years, in which I announced my departure and thanked them very much for the pleasant and fruitful collaboration. Of course all letters were, where applicable, personalized, so no standard letters.


I had decided not to give any further explanation as to why I was leaving. All patients who had an appointment  with me received a letter explaining that I had left and that the practice would be continued by my successor, Dr. Monique Andriessen, and that they would be seen by her.

And so I left on June 1, 2002 with a number of boxes with all kinds of things that I was allowed to take with me from Carolus Hospital, after I had seen the last patients on May 31 (useful: until 2022 we have used Carolus stationery for our shopping lists for the supermarket. Finally, I shook hands with the front desk staff, whom I all knew by first name, and left the hospital.

That evening Janny and I had dinner at the Chinese restaurant in Vught with Corina and Wil, our last secretary and assistant. I have never returned to Carolus hospital since then. The building was vacated a few years later, after the new merger hospital had been built. At long last, in 2010, my 'Carolus' was demolished to make room for a new residential area (

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