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Remember when doctors made house calls? Well that may be a thing of the past for most physicians, but not for Ken Jackson. In fact, Jackson will go a long way to ensure his patients get the quality care and support they need — even if they are 90 miles from civilization.
See also: Rate your doctor.
You see, Jackson isn’t your average MD. During years of working on an Apache reservation, he fell in love with Native American tribes. Now, at over 60 years old, he rides on horseback to offer free medical care to the isolated tribes located deep in and around the Grand Canyon.
“There’s a danger to it,” Jackson says. “There’s a sort of edge — and I like that.”
Much of this work consists of offering critical prenatal care for low-income women whose infants might not survive without it. “We’d be probably in a world of hurt without him,” says one tribal leader. “I don’t think our tribe would grow to the nation that we’re in without his service.”
When he’s not playing the role of cowboy caregiver, Jackson is a full-time family doctor working 50-60 hours per week in Kingman, Ariz. He’s a doctor that appreciates the basics of medicine, putting the care and well-being of his patients above all else. He’s been known to open up his wallet to people in need and he occasionally treats patients out of pocket. But most patients adore him for his smaller gestures: the hugs and kisses they’re greeted with at every visit.
“Ken just really hasn’t forgotten what health care is about,” says Brian Turney, CEO of Kingman Regional Medical Center. “That’s what really drives him. It’s not the money, it’s not the other things — he just likes to take care of people and he takes pride in that.”
Whether he’s working in his clinic or in the canyon, Ken Jackson is making his own path. My Generation’s Andy Field tags along for the ride.
Richard M. Cohen | Health Columnist