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Family Physician Closes 53-Year Practice
Having practiced medicine in Riverbank for 53 years, Dr. George Edward Schauf retired Thursday from his long career as a family physician. He was honored by the Riverbank City Council several weeks ago for his contribution to the community's health care.

Like most family physicians, Dr. Schauf has delivered babies, handled hernias, tonsillitis, appendicitis, and all the aches and pains of humanity over the years.

But his consuming interest is obesity and its treatment. Besides holding a diploma from the American Board of Family Practice, he is a diplomate of the American Board of Bariatric Medicine and has published several books on the cause and treatment of obesity. They range from "Think, Eat and Lose Fat" in 1970 and "Think Thin" in 1976 to the revised edition called "The Calorie Conspiracy" published last year.

Asked what he plans to do in retirement, he said. "It's a mystery. I can' believe it's happening. I think I'll write another book. But it will be on changes in the medical profession and how the family doctor has lost control of his patient to the hospitalists."

Family doctors know their patients' medical problems thoroughly and used to visit them in the hospital and continue prescribing their drugs and treatment there but that custom has become rare, Schauf pointed out, and hospital specialists now take over the treatment so a family doctor loses touch with his patient.

"I became a doctor not for profit but to treat illness, which I have done to the best of my knowledge," he said, sitting in his cramped cubbyhole of an office that was initially part of the kitchen of the house that he converted to medical offices at 3443 Atchison many years ago.

Dr. Schauf came to Riverbank in 1958 and bought the practice and property from Dr. John R. Barnhill, inheriting all his records and clients, after he had died the year before. He also sought the help and advice of Dr. Aritus Boone who had an office next to the once notorious dancehall near where the Post Office now stands on Stanislaus Street.

Dr. Schauf has medical interests beyond the treatment of obesity. Caroline, his daughter from a previous marriage, died of leukemia and he dedicated his latest book on obesity to her.

Cancer, he believes, is caused by bacteria of the same kind that causes tuberculosis, noting that the treatment of TB with antibiotic drugs has almost wiped out a disease that was as feared in his youth as cancer is today. Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno, he said, mentioned to him "there is no leukemia in Mexico" perhaps because doctors in that country vaccinate against TB with a live virus that may be effective also against leukemia.

Dr. Schauf's wife Eleanor is qualified as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) and has run his office for 25 years. Eight years ago a medical assistant, Maria Ibarra, joined him in the practice.

Dr. Schauf began formulating his theory on obesity in the late 1960s. Among its first champions was the well-known "strongman" Jack LaLanne for whom he wrote the nutritional component of the "Power of Thinking Thin Program." He appeared on television with LaLanne and dietary material was distributed in booklet and audio form.

"If you're fat you probably need to gain weight on the inside, lean vital tissue in muscle, kidney and liver, etc." reads the back cover summary of his latest book on obesity.

"Now Dr. Schauf ...challenges the validity of the Caloric Theory. He explains why most people's over weight problem is intensified rather than helped by calorie counting diets. ... and why fat people everywhere are actually suffering from malnutrition. Forget about calories, eat more of the right foods at the right times..." the book jacket continues.