Doctors' Day Marked at Penn Highlands Healthcare

March 30, 2015


Dr. Thomas Hoffman, podiatrist, right, of Penn Highlands Clearfield, is with patient Patsy Flanders of DuBois.

National Doctors' Day is March 30. Held every year on this day in the United States, it is a day to celebrate the contribution of physicians who serve our country by caring for its citizens, according to the National Doctors’ Day Organization.

Penn Highlands Healthcare marks this day, as well, as there are 363 physicians associated with Penn Highlands Healthcare and its affiliated hospitals.

“The physicians working within the Penn Highlands Healthcare system are dedicated to providing the highest quality care to the communities we serve,” Dr. Gary DuGan, chief medical officer for all of Penn Highlands Healthcare, said. “In my role as chief medical officer, I am privileged to work closely with the medical staffs and am proud of the excellent care provided.”

Who are the physicians of Penn Highlands Healthcare? There are many types that people are familiar with and some that may be surprising as medicine has many specialties.

The type of doctor most people are familiar with are family medicine doctors. They offer general medical care from childhood through adulthood. Some specialize more for adults ages 18 and older. They are internal medicine doctors. Pediatricians care for patients from birth through college age.

If someone is admitted to Penn Highlands Healthcare, he or she may see a hospitalist, a board certified physician who practices solely inside the hospital. They care for patients who do not have a regular doctor or who have a physician who opts to have their patients seen by hospitalists.

Also inside Penn Highlands Healthcare, emergency medicine doctors are in a specialty to care for patients with acute illnesses or injuries, and they work in the Emergency Department. They do not provide long-term care, but diagnose a variety of illnesses and stabilize patients. Workers are often sent to an occupational medicine doctor who provides preventive medicine and care as well as perform pre-job screenings.

In the laboratories are pathologists who diagnosis diseases through examinations of organs, tissues and bodily fluids. In the Imaging Departments, radiologists use x-rays, ultrasound, MRIs, CAT scans and other imaging technology to determine illnesses and problems. Some are interventional radiologists and perform procedures while using imaging.

Working in the operating room are general surgeons who focus on abdominal organs and glands. They also deal with diseases involving the skin and breast and hernias. Cardiovascular/thoracic surgeons operate in a more specialized area of the heart, lungs and esophagus. Plastic surgeons operate to correct or restore the body’s form and function.

They don’t do it alone. Anesthesiologists are dedicated to the relief of pain and care before, during and after surgery including blood pressure, breathing and level of unconsciousness. Some doctors subspecialize. Cardiovascular thoracic anesthesiology provides anesthesia care for patients undergoing heart, lungs or blood vessels surgery.

Some procedures require minimal anesthetics. Cardiologists who perform heart catheterizations only numb patients at the point of entry into the body. These heart doctors also place pace makers and defibrillators as well as help in other ways with heart conditions.

Other specialists are also system or organ specific. Dermatologists provide skin care. Otolaryngologists diagnose and treat ear, nose, throat and head and neck disorders. These doctors are sometimes called ENTs. Gastroenterologists study and care for the digestive system. Endocrinology is the study of hormones and the way they contribute to diabetes, thyroid conditions and pituitary problems.

Podiatrists care for problems of the feet. Orthopedics is the branch of surgery and care concerned with the musculoskeletal system, including sports injuries, joint injuries, the spine and broken bones. Physical medicine rehabilitation physicians are nerve, muscle, bone and brain experts who treat injury or illness nonsurgically to decrease pain and restore function.

Urology is the surgical specialty that focuses on the urinary tracts of males and females, and on the reproductive system of males.

OB/gyn is short for obstetrics and gynecology. They care for pregnant women before, during and after birth, and focus on women’s reproductive medicine. Patients are referred to perinatologists if having pregnancy problems. And a neonatologist cares for babies in Penn Highlands’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who were born premature or with problems.

Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine specializing in the anatomy, function and diseases of the eye. They can perform surgeries on the eyes. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons treat injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws, and the hard and soft tissues of the mouth.

Pulmonary critical care medicine covers a broad range of care, including asthma, critical care, cystic fibrosis, lung disease, lung cancer, neuromuscular disease, pulmonary hypertension and sleep medicine.

Neurology is the specialty to diagnose and treat disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. This includes Parkinson’s disease, tremors, stroke, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Rheumatologists treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders and osteoporosis. Nephrology involves treatment of kidney diseases and the care of those requiring renal replacement therapy, including dialysis and renal transplant patients.

Some specialties are illness specific. Infectious disease is an internal medicine subspecialty that diagnoses and treats illnesses such as hepatitis, HIV or rare infections. Medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and hematologists are found at Hahne Regional Cancer Center in DuBois and the Nathaniel D. Yingling, M.D., Cancer Center in Clearfield along with offices at PH Elk and PH Brookville. Oncology is the treatment of cancer. Medical refers to the use of drugs for treatment. Radiation refers to radiation treatment. Hematology is the study of blood disorders.

Not all illnesses are physical. Psychiatrists offer children, adults and geriatric patients the chance for a better quality of life emotionally and mentally.

All of these types of doctors are available at Penn Highlands Healthcare. For more information on any of these physicians, go to the physician finder on this website.