SCHENECTADY — A medical destination for Schenectady families for more than 50 years is closing its doors at the end of the month.
Dr. Nam Soo Lee is retiring after 40 years at Schenectady Pediatrics and is closing the 1726 Campbell Ave. practice because no other pediatrician has been located to take it over. The final day is scheduled to be Friday, Dec. 28.
The practice is recommending parents switch to CapitalCare/Community Care Pediatrics on McClellan Street.
After its closure, Schenectady Pediatrics will shred its archives of old patient records. But before that, it needs to find a new home for current patient records. The parents of roughly 1,300 patients need to sign medical releases to get their children’s records forwarded to their new doctors. This process is proceeding more slowly than had been hoped, but the office is hoping the pace will pick up in the final weeks of December.
Schenectady Pediatrics was founded by Dr. Dominick Mele, who practiced until he was 86, though he practiced part-time in the final years. (He is 104 now.)
Lee, who is now owner and sole practitioner at Schenectady Pediatrics, is retiring at a younger age — he’s just 73. He said Monday he will be sad to see the practice close.
He calls his patients his children, and he’s had thousands over the decades.
“We’re taking care of three generations of families,” Lee said.
“I call all of my patients my family. I love my children, and I’ll kind of miss them lot. But my time has come.”
Lee’s wife, Chan Ju, suffered a stroke this year, and that has factored into his decision to close the practice. (Lee is now taking care of his wife and his patients.)
“It’s getting a little too much for me,” he said.
Lee said he and Chan Ju might move from Niskayuna to the Los Angeles area to be closer to their two children — and to have some warmer weather, which his wife would appreciate.
Lee marveled at the inter-generational relationships that have developed at the long-running practice.
“I know all the families,” he said. “When they come here, it’s, ‘How’s your mom? How’s your grandmother?'”
Lee will stop seeing patients after Dec. 28 but the shutdown process might take a little longer.
“That’s supposed to be my last day; I don’t know,” he said.
Retirement will give him more time to do things other than practice medicine, and he doesn’t expect to be idle.
“I work for myself,” Lee said, “so I think from now on, I can spend more time either with community or volunteer. I can spend more time with others.”