Groveport said goodbye to one of its longtime caregivers when Dr. Richard McCarty closed his medical practice early in January.

Groveport said goodbye to one of its longtime caregivers when Dr. Richard McCarty closed his medical practice early in January.

McCarty, 77, who lives in Powell with his wife, Eloise, ran a family practice at 495 Main St. in Groveport for 38 years. McCarty studied at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University before beginning his career working for Dow Corning in Michigan. He later completed his medical training at Michigan State University and then opened his practice in Ohio in 1975.

"I came to Groveport in 1975 and have been here ever since," he said. "Back at the beginning, I had a second office in Canal Winchester as well, but the work kept me so busy it was just easier having it all at one location, so I stuck with Groveport.

"But I'm 77 now and figure it's time to smell the roses."

In addition, McCarty said, new requirements for electronic record keeping and other healthcare changes weren't worth the financial investment for him.

"With the cost of switching over to electronic records, it just wouldn't provide me a return for continuing to practice another two or three years," he said.

A lot has changed in the field of family practice since McCarty started.

"When we first started out, I'd deliver babies, make X-rays for people and set their bones, even do some surgery and anesthesiology in the office, but so much of that has become specialized services over the years," McCarty said. "In some cases, I think we'd be better off if we could still do things the old way.

"I've seen three and four generations of patients from the same family. You get to know certain traits that way -- that's a pretty rare thing in this day and age."

Eloise McCarty said her husband used to make house calls as well, something she said was an invaluable service, particularly to elderly and bedridden patients.

"That way, they could remain in the comfort of their own home," she said.

The office officially closed Jan. 8, and McCarty is negotiating a sale to a new doctors' group; however, until the sale is completed, he said he could not provide details about who will replace him.

"I'll probably drop by and do some consulting, but I've relinquished my license so I won't actually be practicing medicine any more," he said. "I don't just want to disappear into the woodwork. I'd like to have a chance to say goodbye to some of my old patients.

"It's hard to say goodbye; these people are like family, and I know they are sorry to see Eloise go, too."

As McCarty put it, Eloise was his "unpaid volunteer who really helped keep everything under control at the office."

The couple will still have family ties to the community, with one son living in Groveport. Although one son lives in Washington, two daughters also are in central Ohio.

"I'm looking forward to spending more time with my five grandchildren," McCarty said. "But it is very difficult to say goodbye."