I recently had my annual physical. It was my first visit with a new doctor. I had decided to switch as my previous doctor did not actually do anything when I had an exam. After the nurse took my blood pressure and weight, the entire physical was him saying hello, handing me a blood test order and telling me to come back next year.

The new physician was Dr. Monica Jain of Fairfield. Dr Jain thoroughly examined me and was concerned about a very small mole on my back. A biopsy confirmed that it was malignant melanoma. It was a newly formed tumor; Dr. Jain caught it before it had spread to any major organs. The dermatologist who did the biopsy, the surgeon who removed it and the surgeon I saw for a second opinion all told me that I was extremely fortunate that Dr. Jain took the time to examine me — let alone realize that an innocuous looking mole was a deadly cancer. The surgeon was able to completely remove the tumor.

I am so appreciative of the outstanding quality of care I received from Dr. Jain. Family and friends tell me that the Dr. Jain type of exam is the exception these days. Overwhelmingly, the norm is “here is your blood work, next patient please.” If I had not switched doctors I probably would have died; that’s not exaggeration it’s reality.

We hear so much about the importance of preventative care and how great it is that our insurance now has to pay for a yearly exam. But what good is it if that exam is a meaningless 90-second glance? I will see Dr. Jain from now on, but not everybody will be so lucky.

Alan I. Saltzman