A family physician is exactly that; a member of your family who is also your first call health care provider after your mother’s gone, right? Of course right! Family members don’t retire! I mean does your mother, uncle or cousin retire? There is no other way to describe the feeling of hundreds of Dr. Gonzalo Fraser’s family (patients) when they heard he was going to retire from his practice that he took over from the legendary bush pilot Dr. Elmer Gaede in 1988, other than perhaps the joy they felt for the man who had worked tirelessly for half a century in medicine. Happy, too, that he would be able to enjoy some skiing and fishing and even holidays without being called away to do his job, any hour of the day or night.
Over 350 of Dr. Fraser’s friends and colleagues turned out for a retirement party at Central Peninsula Hospital, (CPH) October 25th to wish the good doctor, who came to Alaska in 1980 as a U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel stationed at Elmendorf, well. As a surprise CPH staff arranged to have Dr. Fraser’s biological family, sons Philip and Bill, “Skyped” from Minnesota and Alabama in a live video conference that allowed his kids and grandkids to participate in the celebration. “I want to thank you all for turning out to honor my dad and mom and especially the Gaede family who trusted my dad to take over his practice. We appreciate the opportunity to grow up in Alaska,” said Bill.
“The prospect of fishing, hunting and skiing in the Great Land contributed to the decision of making Alaska my home. Having grown up in the mountainous city of Bogota, Colombia, experiencing the wonder of Alaska made the choice to make this our home after leaving the Air Force easy,” said Dr. Fraser in an interview. Dr. Peter Hansen of Kenai brought Dr. Fraser in to join his practice on the Kenai Peninsula in 1983. In 1988 Dr. Fraser purchased the practice of Elmer Gaede, M.D., and formed the Soldotna Medical Clinic. The clinic was moved to Kobuk Street next door to Kaladi Bros. in 1996. The changes in health care arrived with the implementation of the Health Insurance and Portability Act (HIPAA) Soldotna Medical Clinic rose to the occasion and implemented the necessary changes while carrying on Dr. Gaede’s tradition of patient centered care. “In this community our patients are also our friends and in some cases our friends are also our patients. The journey of care took a second leap for the best when the visionary Central Peninsula Hospital CEO Rick Davis with the hospital board purchased Soldotna Medical Clinic in 2010. Changes in healthcare and a vision of Patient Centered Care philosophy embraced by CPH made this change easy. The model of Patient Centered Care is what makes CPH the best and the only hospital with the Plane Tree designation in the state. It has been an honor to have been a part of this amazing group of dedicated, professional and highly qualified individuals who comprise the staff at CPH. From the spirituality committee, and housekeeping to middle and upper management the folks at CPH and Heritage Place I have been privileged to have been a part of the Central Peninsula Hospital family,” added Dr. Fraser.