" I found that I was not able to keep up anymore," said Russell, a 1966 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "It was mentally exhausting.
"When I was 59 I decided to get out of medicine and become a full-time painter."
Russell, 64, was the third generation in his family to go into medicine. Both his father and grandfather were physicians. Although Russell had two children, neither chose medicine as a career.
He admits that toward the end of his practice he became more stressed with the increasing caseload, malpractice suits and declining reimbursement.
"It was very much like being an air traffic controller," he said. "You say - 'I'm pretty proud of myself. Last year I landed 20,000 planes safely at the Atlanta airport. Only two crashed.' continued..