700 Olympic Plaza, Suite 700
Tyler, Texas 75701
Office Phone: (903) 262-3900
Fax: (903) 262-3993
What made you want to become a Urologist?
This is the question that I’m asked most often by my patients. It’s a bit of a long and convoluted story. There are no other doctors in my family but we have plenty of engineers. My Dad is a chemical engineer, my brother is a mechanical engineer, and my uncle is a civil and structural engineer. So naturally I set out to be an engineer. I enjoyed all types of science in high school, so after graduating from Clear Lake High School in Houston in 1979, I enrolled at Texas A&M University to study chemical engineering.
In the summer between semesters, I worked at a pool as a lifeguard. One day I was up in the stand and a 10 year old boy fell off the high board ladder and landed flat on his back on the concrete pool deck. We had a little bit of first aid training with our lifeguard training, but all I knew about falls was to keep them still until an ambulance arrived. The child ended up okay but it started me thinking that I could use some more first aid training. At Texas A&M, I enrolled in the first aid and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) courses. I became an EMT and joined the student run ambulance service. I discovered I really enjoyed taking care of patients. So this is where my checkered past comes into play. I transferred from Texas A&M to the University of Texas at Austin (cut one arm I bleed maroon, cut the other I bleed burnt orange) and changed my major to Biology (Pre-Med). I graduated from UT and went to medical school at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. During medical school we rotated through many different specialties and I thought I wanted to go into surgery.
I finished medical school and started my training in general surgery at UT Houston Medical School. In our first year of training, called our internship, we rotate through the surgical sub-specialties. For the first time I did a urology rotation. One of my senior residents was a chemical engineer before he went to medical school. He told me, “You are going to love urology- it’s like chemical engineering- it deals with pumps, valves, filters and flow systems”. He was right, urology just made sense. I switched from general surgery to training in urology, it was the best decision I have ever made.
Urology is a great specialty because we have the opportunity to really help people. Because of the way the kidneys handle chemicals, we have tests that enable us to very specifically diagnose problems. We have other tests which help sort different types of bladder and prostate problems. With good tests, we can determine more specific treatment and the results of the treatment are much better. There is very little “exploratory” surgery in urology.
We don’t operate on all our patients. Some patients we help with medication. We also use physical therapy, biofeedback, radiation therapy and cryotherapy. The variety of treatment options keeps urology interesting and constantly expanding.
And now you know the rest of the story.
My Philosophy of Medicine
First and foremost I realize that I am just a tool of the Great Physician, God. Without His healing intervention everything I do would not work. Think about it, without His healing I could never use “temporary” or dissolving suture!
I make the cuts but He is responsible for the healing and He should get all the glory.
I also believe that the practice of medicine is a dialogue not a monologue. It is an opportunity to discuss a problem and come up with a mutually agreeable solution. Part of my role in medicine is to teach about the disease process. This fits well with my personality as every spiritual gift assessment I have taken puts me in the “teacher” role. I feel that a well informed patient will better understand their condition and has the ability to more accurately describe their symptoms.
I believe that medical choices should be made with the best information possible. For the most part, we should rely on good, objective, scientific studies and not on someone else’s personal experience or preferences. However, having said that, I also realize that there is an art to medicine and sometimes we will have to make decisions without the benefit of scientific studies. I will try to tell you when we are working off the “art of medicine” or the “science of medicine”. In the practice of medicine we are also treating people, not numbers or statistics. Allowances must be given because sometimes the best treatment for a disease is not the best treatment for a specific patient (we don’t try to win a battle at the expense of losing the war!).
So, let’s talk. Let’s see what is going on with you and let’s discuss what we can do about it.
Diplomate, American Board of Urology
- East Texas Medical Center
- Trinity Mother Frances Hospital
Began Practicing in Tyler, Texas: 1994
Board Certified: 1996
Place of Birth: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada