Treating a Family Like a Family

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September 25, 2018

Treating a Family Like a Family

John Beight, M.D., is not, strictly speaking, a familymedicine physician. He’s aboard certified orthopedic surgeon. But in more than 30 years of practice, he’s cared for plenty of families. Dr. Beight and his colleagues at Orthopedic Surgery & Rehabilitation Associates, LLC, which has been affiliated with the Holy Redeemer Health System since 1979, are a family practice orthopedic group. “We treat people like family, so they tend to return to us and bring their family members for all their orthopedic needs,” he says. His patients include three generations of the Gieseler and McLaughlin families, whose ties to Holy Redeemer run deep. The family patriarch, Guy McLaughlin, M.D., who served as Chair of Pediatrics at Holy Redeemer Hospital, was a patient of practice founder William Markmann, M.D. His daughter, Wendy Gieseler, first saw Dr. Beight in 1990, after injuring her foot. “He was very caring, took the time to answer all my questions, and never made me feel rushed,” she says. When her right knee, which had been bothering her since the mid-1980s and had not responded to a previous arthroscopic surgery with another surgeon, started causing constant pain, she came to Dr. Beight for a repeat procedure. “This time, the surgery went great, and the pain has not returned all these years later,” she says.

A Conservative, Caring Approach

As parents of two active boys, Wendy and her husband, David, visited Dr. Beight numerous times over the years. When son Dylan broke his ankle in grade school, or when son Denney broke his toe, or when David broke his leg, “there was never any question where we would go,” Wendy says. She’s been impressed not only by Dr. Beight’s responsiveness to emergency issues but also by his willingness to prescribe conservative measures, such as pain medicine injections or physical therapy, to resolve chronic issues. “Even though he’s a surgeon, he uses surgery as a last resort,” she says.That conservative approach is a key part of Dr. Beight’s practice philosophy. “There are so many conditions that can get better with time and the proper non-operative treatment, and every patient deserves the opportunity to try to heal without surgery,” he says.

To treat patients with chronic pain, he starts with a thorough exam.“We need to remember that everything is connected to get to the root of the issue,” he says. “For example, if a patient comes in with knee pain, the problem may actually be in the back. An exam for carpal tunnel may start in the neck. If we determine that surgery is required, we need to take the time to make sure patients know what to expect and what the possible complications and risks are.”

The family also appreciates Dr. Beight’s willingness to refer them to other physicians when needed. “If he can help you, he will, but he also knows when someone else might offer greater expertise,” Wendy says. When Denney dislocated his shoulder, for example, Dr. Beight recommended that he see Walter Dearolf, M.D., a practice colleague who specializes in shoulder issues. “It’s all about getting the best outcome for the patient,” Dr. Beight says. “If I don’t think I can offer that result, it’s my responsibility to refer to someone who can.”

 A Physician’s Perspective

 Elgie McLaughlin, M.D., who is a pediatrician at Holy Redeemer and Wendy’s sister, has come to know Dr. Beight as a patient, colleague, and physician to their 90-year-old mother. “I’ve seen him for my knees, shoulder, back, and hand,” Dr. McLaughlin says. “In addition to beingan excellent physician, I feel that he’s a kindred spirit in the way we practice medicine. We both spend all the time with patients that they need and don’t hesitate to address multiple issues in one visit.” Her mother, also named Elgie, whohas spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerves, causing pain and numbness in the buttocks and down the leg), has experienced significant relief under Dr. Beight’s care, which has included physical therapy and local trigger point corticosteroid injections. “My mother just loves him,” she says. “She says that when you’re in that exam room, he makes you feel as though you’re the only patient in the world ... He is so kind to her, listens to everything she has to say, and is also very observant.” “We as a family cannot say enough about Dr. Beight,” Dr. McLaughlin adds. “He is a special man who never misses a beat in the excellent care he provides his patients.”

To learn more about Dr. Beight, click here.

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