A Boston doctor who turned down an oncology fellowship to care for the city’s homeless turned the one-year position into a 32-year career, and is even referred to as “Jesus” by some of his patients. Dr. Jim O’Connell, who is the head of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, treats his patients on park benches, under bridges or wherever else they call home, CBS News reported.
“I feel like I’m a country doctor in the middle of the city, you know?” O’Connell told CBS News.
O’Connell and his team provide everything from stitches to help finding a place in a temporary shelter for patients who require more care, the news outlet reported. He said his morning rounds include about 20 patients, while his team counts around 700 regulars.
“You start to realize, ‘You know what, I’m just a doctor,’” O’Connell told CBS News. “And what I can do is I can get to know you and ease your suffering, just as I would an oncologist. You could not find a more grateful population.”
O’Connell’s program includes a main shelter, McInnis House, where patients can stay for an extended period of time for treatment, CBS News reported.
“He’s like Jesus,” an unidentified patient told the news outlet.