Good Samaritan Hospital
Bon Secours Urology
What is something that medical school doesn’t teach you?
Medical school teaches us the science behind the practice of medicine. Medical school doesn’t teach us that every decision and every interaction we have with our patients is potentially life-changing. The human being is cared for in many ways which are not directly related to the science which we are taught. Oftentimes, listening to the patient is the most therapeutic part of the care we provide.
What made you decide to become a urologist?
Urology is a unique field of medicine which incorporates all aspects of clinical care (medical therapy, surgical therapy, psychotherapy). The urologic patient also presents with everything from emergency issues requiring acute care to chronic issues which require annual follow up. Each day is different, and the diversity of cases keeps me, intellectually, very stimulated. As a side note, during my medical school years I helped my grandfather battle metastatic prostate cancer. He fought a very courageous battle. Ultimately, he lost his battle and I lost the patriarch of my family. I believe that my subconscious directed me to the field of urology to help others fight the very disease that devastated me by killing my grandfather, whom I loved dearly.
What recent advances have there been in the treatment of kidney stones?
Kidney stone treatment has evolved in recent years so that open surgery is almost never needed to clear our patients’ stones. The stones are oftentimes cleared by using special scopes which we can guide into the kidneys along with lasers that break up the stones. The laser fibers we use are only microns in size. Alternatively, stones can be broken with special sound waves which are focused on the stones to break them apart (shock wave lithotripsy). The largest stones, which used to require open surgery, are now approached with special telescopes which we pass into the kidneys via a tract created between the skin and the inside of the kidney. Using special instruments, these stones are broken up and physically extracted from the kidney under direct vision. This allows us to leave patients “stone free.”
You have won three Patients’ Choice Awards and two Compassionate Doctor Awards. Is there a person from whom you learned compassion?
I have learned from personal experience, as a patient myself, that the relationship between patient and caregiver is paramount in healing. Unfortunately, I have personally encountered many cold/sterile interactions with healthcare providers. I try to engage my patients to understand them as a whole. The physician needs to understand the patient’s complaints, ailments, and issues. Care cannot be effective unless the patient and the doctor understand each other. Why treatment is needed, along with the various treatment options, needs to be explained and understood. Patients should always be given the opportunity to question our treatment plans. I try to spend as much time as needed so that my patients feel that I am engaged and part of their “team.” I am honored daily to be trusted by my patients.
How does being fluent in Spanish help you in your job?
At every point in my medical life, I have used Spanish (medical school, residency, private practice, hospital work). Communication is a huge part of our medical practice. My ability to care for Spanish-speaking patients is enhanced greatly by being able to use their native language. My ability to communicate in Spanish is not perfect, however, it does allow me to communicate much more effectively and to create a better bond with my Hispanic patients.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your specialty or your work?
I have joined Good Samaritan with the goal of providing state-of-the-art, complete urologic care, in a compassionate and caring environment. I am surrounded by amazing partners: Dr. Christopher Dixon and Dr. Ross Bauer. Their commitment to the same goal is paramount to our successes. In addition, I am supported by experts in the fields of oncology, radiation therapy, surgery, medicine, critical care, pathology, and radiology.