Back when Dr. Harold Jacot took over a Beatrice chiropractic practice in 1971, he said there were much fewer chiropractors in Nebraska.
“There was about 35 chiropractors in the state,” Jacot recalled. He said he and several colleagues had moved to Nebraska from Minnesota to address the state’s shortage. “I’m happy to say we’ve gone from 35 in ’71 to over 600 now. Think of how many more people can be served with 600 doctors instead of 35 doctors.”
Jacot, 76, said the love of that service has kept him practicing for 45 years in Beatrice, as well as nine years before that in Pine City, Minn.
A representative of the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association said Jacot is probably the oldest and longest practicing chiropractor in the state, that he has been a longtime leader in the state association, and that he spearheaded a legislative effort in 1983 to expand the scope of services chiropractors could be licensed to provide.
Chiropractic practice is well-represented in Jacot’s family. He said he was encouraged by an uncle and his brother, both chiropractors, to enter the field. Now, two of his brother’s children and a grandchild, as well as one of Jacot’s own children, have all become chiropractors as well.
Jacot said he feels blessed to be trusted with people’s most precious possession: their health. He said it’s important, for patients and for him, to stay active physically, mentally and spiritually.
“I’ve learned a lot from my farmer friends. ... I’ve got a lot of farmers in their 70s, 80s and 90s that are still farming. They may have slowed down, but they’re still doing it. And I read the Bible a lot, and I don’t see anything in there that talks about retiring — so I keep saying that I’m not going to retire, I’m just going to ‘refire’. I still basically work full time.”
Beside there being many more chiropractors in Nebraska, Jacot said the field, and medical practice in general, has come a long way.
“The world is never status quo; it’s always changing,” he said. “If you look at what’s happened in the last 10, 20, 25 years ... we keep learning more and more about how the body is so integrated and the importance of the nervous system.” He said technological advancements have made more information widely available, as well. “Nowadays, with the abundance of what’s in computers and books, it’s fun to keep learning.”
There’s more chiropractic research, new techniques for spinal adjustments, and more cooperation between medical doctors, chiropractors and other specialist within the medical arena, he said.
Another local chiropractor, Dr. Jacob May, said he has had great admiration for Jacot since soon after moving to Beatrice six years ago.
“One of my first memories of Dr. Jacot was when I came into town, I went around introducing myself to the other chiropractors,” May recalled. “Everyone was very cordial ... but when I sat down with Dr. Jacot, I truly felt like he was very sincere and wanted to help me succeed.”
May said it was only after the fact that he found out how much of a ‘celebrity’ Jacot is in the chiropractic world. He said Jacot has been heavily involved in guiding the state association, and that every time there is a convention he sees Jacot in the front row, ready to learn something new. That level of dedication in someone who has been working so long is uncommon, May said.
“Working at his age when he doesn’t have to says a lot about how much he cares about his work, and how much he cares about his patients,” May said.
In fact, Jacot said he’s had some of the same patients since the early years of his Beatrice practice. “They were much younger then,” he joked. He said some families are on their third generation of patient — Jacot sees the grandparent, parent and grandchild. He’s had some very old patients for health issues and some infants for basic exams, but no matter the age Jacot said he enjoys the opportunity to look after others’ health.
Jacot recalled one patient who started coming in when he was 87 years old. He had a pinched nerve going down his right leg. Two medical doctors told him he needed surgery, but the man said he was too old. He came to Jacot on a friend’s referral.
“Eventually we got him stabilized and pain free, and we saw him occasionally over the years,” Jacot recalled. “When he was 95, he went hunting ... (and) he shot the biggest deer of his life.”