When husband and wife duo Riyad Albibi, MD, a gastroenterologist, hydrochlorothiazide 25mg tablets and Rashda Albibi, MD, a pediatrician, met at Damascus University medical school in Syria, they had no idea the impact they would have on the community of Panama City, Florida.
Now, after 40 years of working in healthcare and seeing over 130,000 patients combined in the community, the husband and wife duo are packing their bags to travel the world together.
The couple married in 1974, the same year they both graduated from medical school. Now, after all these years working in the medical field, they have decided to retire and enjoy as much free time together as possible. “It would be practicing for 40 years for both of us and we’re both 71,” Riyad told The Panama City News Herald. “So, we thought we better just retire when we can actually go out and enjoy life and do some other stuff or see the world.”
“We have three trips set for next year, we don’t know when,” Rashda told the newspaper. “We have one set for South Africa, but now it’s banned. But we also have a trip to the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica.” In addition, they are hoping to see Bora Bora and Tahiti with their friends.
Along with traveling, the couple is also looking forward to being able to spend more time with their family during their retirement. According to the News Herald, their love for Bay County, Florida along the Gulf of Mexico has encouraged many of their family members from all over the country to move there. The Albibis have two children, one who lives in Panama City, and three grandchildren. They invite their family to Sunday night dinners every week.
Both Riyad and Rashda are turning over their practices to new hands in 2022.
Riyad, who works at the Digestive Diseases Center in Panama City, is optimistic about the new doctors the practice is planning on hiring after his retirement. He’s also happy that the patients will be able to decide which doctor they want to work with in the future.
“It’s the patient’s choice, which doctor they want to establish with,” Riyad told the News Herald, “and then that’s how it’s going to work. Basically, the patients would be taken good care of by my partners. And that’s a nice part about having other partners in the practice — that they can take over. Then the patient will not feel like they are abandoned.”
Rashda, who is a pediatrician with a private practice, said she has seen multiple generations of patients and has been able to witness numerous families grow and develop.
“Most of my patients, they’re grand-patients,” Rashda told the News Herald, “And I have some of my patients now who are becoming grandparents. A lot of people, I take care of a lot of people. I think our medical record is up to 30,000.”
Rashda listed the relationships that she has developed with patients as the crowning achievement of her long career.
“When I see a child in the supermarket and they come and want to hug me, ‘Dr. Albibi,’ that makes me feel really grateful for my job,” Rashda told the News Herald, “And just connecting with people, especially with little children, I’m going to miss it.”
Riyad was thankful for the legacy of aid the couple has left on the community of Florida that they love so much.
“I feel proud that I helped a lot of people. I’ve done over 100,000 procedures since I started here,” Riyad told the News Herald, “So, I’m sure people appreciate it. My patients pushed me into the work I did for them. I think I can see that we helped a lot of people to get better.”
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