By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Walter Bramson, M.D., who has been the local Crestline family doctor for over 40 years, has earned a deserved retirement. In a letter mailed to his patients this week, he said, “It has been a joy and privilege to care for my mountain patients for over 40 years and it’s certainly not an easy decision to ‘pass the baton.’”
A touching banner has been posted by Goodwin’s, across the street from Lake Gregory, stating, “Thank you Dr. Bramson for 40+ years of faithful service to our community.”
His patients speak highly of the 69-year-old family doctor who knew his patients by name and their preferences. One patient, Ken, spoke highly of the rapport Dr. Bramson had with his patients. “Their continued good health seemed to be an active partnership between Dr. Bramson and the patient. Even patients who had moved out-of-state would come back to see Dr. Bramson for their yearly checkups.”
He had many tests available in his office, so patients wouldn’t need to go numerous places to get their needed medical tests completed and results could be seen and diagnosed almost immediately.
One of his former nurses, Janice, was surprised when told he was retiring, saying his office was the busiest one she worked in over the decades she worked in doctors’ offices up here.
“One day, we had 60 patients seen in the office, some just for allergy shots, but we’d stay late to get all the patients whatever they needed. Dr. Bramson was very dedicated to giving his patients the excellent service he believed they deserved,” she said.
Dr. Bramson was raised Jewish, but became an agnostic as he grew, then became a Christian in the 1980s. It was many years ago that he began to lead a series of Bible study lessons at the Church of the Woods on the “End Times,” given from a Jewish perspective. As the weeks progressed, the number of people greatly increased as word-of-mouth on the series brought more people to the lessons. They were insightful and the attendees were very impressed by the series. They still speak fondly of the sessions, saying his insights changed their lives and he continued with other Bible study sessions.
Dr. Bramson was not the only person in his family to serve the community. His wife, Leslie, also a doctor, was elected to and served on the Rim of the World Unified School District board of trustees for years. Dr. Leslie Bramson raised four successful children and lived in Crestline for 33 years; before that she lived in Lake Arrowhead and Twin Peaks. She has a doctorate in Public Health Education, is a registered nurse and a certified health education specialist, with a master’s degree in global health and is an international board-certified lactation consultant.
Leslie has stated that, because of negative educational experiences earlier in her own life, she is a devoted supporter of students’ needs and feels our students’ education is her ultimate goal for the children on the mountain.
Dr. Walter Bramson was a medical specialist in family medicine, with 45 years of experience in the medical field. He attended and graduated from the University of California at Irvine and from its College of Medicine in 1978. He was affiliated with Mountains Community Hospital and St. Bernardine Medical Center. He had his internship at Fontana’s Kaiser Hospital in 1979.
Many mountain families over the years have stories of the excellent care that Dr. Bramson has given to their families. My own story is that he saved my husband’s life when he collapsed in Dr. Bramson’s office in Crestline, as soon as he entered the building, and Dr. Bramson gave him life-saving measures, getting him conscious. He called the ambulance to get him to the hospital, ran some tests and gave him life-saving medicines. He ended up spending over a week in the hospital recovering from an internal shutdown of his various bodily systems. Dr. Bramson saved his life.
Other patients also speak of the way he worked in a “family doctor” manner, using science and instincts to cure his patients. Children responded positively to his family doctor methods, as did his senior patients.
About two years ago, Dr. Bramson was diagnosed with cancer, so he has lightened his patient load recently and was out of the office for “medical reasons” in January, although he did do some prescription renewals and such.
Dr. Bramson has now sold his practice to Optima Health. The office will need three doctors to replace the busy Dr. Bramson. Andro Sharobiem, M.D., who specializes in geriatrics, diabetes and adult care, and his associates Sindy Tadros, D.O., who specializes in women’s and children’s health, and Vincent Vasquez M.D.
At the office, they have complete biographies and information on medical education and degrees for each doctor to give to patients, so they will have an introduction to their new doctors if they decide to continue their health care at Dr. Bramson’s office building. The doctors also have offices in Riverside and are also affiliated with numerous insurance groups.
In his message to his patients, Dr. Bramson said, “I am confident that I’m leaving you in more than capable hands, as I would happily have Dr. Sharobiem care for my own family.”
This sign at the corner of Lake Drive and Lake Gregory Drive expresses the gratitude of the community for the care given by Dr. Walter Bramson.