Yesterday I received an angry message left on my voicemail from a patient who was furious that his therapist – someone I recommended – was a no-show at his last appointment. “Some emergency must have come up,” I assured this patient. “There had to be some emergency,” I repeated to myself after I hung up. That’s because it just wasn’t like Bob to miss an appointment, let alone not call to cancel. Then I began receiving other similar irate text messages and emails from other patients all referred to this therapist, who had similar experiences this past week. So I called Bob, but there was no answer. I left a message. Then I decided to check his Facebook page. There I learned the awful truth
Bob had died.
I was shocked.
I met Bob Bergeron nearly ten years ago when I began referring patients to him. He specialized in gay men’s health specifically HIV. I had been sending patients to Bob almost exclusively for a period because we became friends, but more so because patients adored him. It was uncanny how many said the same thing, “I love Bob. He’s so nice. Bob really understands me, and he’s not judgemental.”
Each morning for years, I worked out at David Barton Gym. I often saw Bob there and we chatted, not just about patients, but also about each other. I got to learn more about him, and eventually I began to reveal more about myself to him. He was an amazing listener, something I feel most doctors need to learn how to do.
It was a huge relief and comfort to have Bob in my arsenal of healthcare providers I referred to. He always made himself available to me and fit my patients in even when I’m sure he didn’t have the time. Bob even saw patients on a reduced fee schedule and sometimes even for free. But that was how Bob practiced. He loved taking care of gay men, and he especially loved helping them navigate through their lives when most of them didn’t know which way to turn next.
Last year Bob called to tell me he was working on a book focusing on life after 40. I told him I thought that was a great idea. The proposal was picked up by a publisher, and he’d begun working on it feverishly. Often he called to ask for advise, and I was so excited for him because this book was going to add another dimension to his life both professionally and personally. I only wish he would have seen that dream come to fruition.
If you were a patient of Bob Bergeron please contact Stanley Siegel at 917-991-5077. He is assisting Bob’s patients and can help you deal with the emotional impact of his death. He is also helping Bob’s patients transition their care. I am also available to help assist you. I can be reached at 212-929-2629.
I will always remember Bob as a warm, kind, friendly and compassionate man. My prayers go out to his family.