Disease can cause uncertainty and anxiousness. I saw this first-hand when my grandfather had a bleeding disorder for which several physicians couldn’t find the cause. What great relief came to him and the family when he saw a specialist who diagnosed and treated his condition. One of our children was born with a congenital heart defect and required surgery at sixteen days of age. I remember so clearly handing her over to the surgical nurse and waiting to talk to the surgeon when it was over. These and many other experiences have taught me empathy for those struggling with illness.
When I first meet a patient I look at the reason they came and review their medical history. I ask them where they live, their line of work, their interests, how was their weekend. I have learned so much about many different topics from these discussions.
I inquire how I can help and then just listen as they tell the story of their illness, jotting notes as they talk. Once my patient provides the outline, I ask questions to fill in the details and try to understand it fully. I believe that obtaining as much information as possible is the most efficient means of delivering care. After combining the examination findings with the history, I generate a list of diagnoses and create a treatment plan, making sure that my patient understands and giving opportunities to partner in the decision-making process.
Medical care is expensive so I try to be a wise steward of my patients’ resources, ordering tests and procedures, and eliciting consultations only when necessary. I spent 6 years in academic medicine and saw how research ultimately changes peoples’ lives. Staying abreast with the advances in my field allows me to bring up-to-date care to those I serve. I also analyze my outcomes to ensure that we are delivering the highest quality. As a result I am listed in America’s Best Doctors, Best Doctors in America, and Castle Connolly Top Doctors.
Some of my ancestors came to Colorado over 150 years ago as ranchers, miners, entrepreneurs, and farmers. On their way, some stopped in South Dakota to break sod in their homestead to build a new life in a foreign land. My work ethic comes from this heritage. The last physician in my lineage was a rural family doctor in West Virginia who died in 1883. Since most of my relatives were in business, announcing to them that I wanted to be a physician was a surprise.
With absolute certainty, studying medicine for me is a divine calling. It is why I’m here, to be used to restore people to health. I don’t have to go half-way across the world to do medical missions. There is a great need in our own community. To address this, several local doctors and I created Christ Clinic almost nine years ago, a free primary care clinic for those without insurance or other means to access medical care. I am active in my church, leading a weekly men’s group.
My wife and I have four children and two grand-daughters. We love to travel, explore our family histories, kayak, spend time with family, relax in the mountains, and ski.
Qualifications and experience
- Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT), Otolaryngology, Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, Otolaryngology - Rhinology
- Languages spoken
Johns Hopkins University
University of Colorado Health Science Center
University of Colorado - Boulder
- Board Certification
Certification Agency Specialty Year American Board of Otolaryngology Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery 1988
- Clinical interest for patients
I enjoy every aspect of my specialty. Otolaryngology is somewhat unique. Unlike the cardiac surgeon who has the cardiologist who has done most of the evaluation, we take a patient from their initial complaint and see them through until treatment is completed. It is rewarding detective work. I like that my patients range between newborns and senior citizens.
What I particularly enjoy is sinus and nasal disease. When I was at Johns Hopkins Hospital my research focused on the smell system and how chemical odors were delivered to the olfactory tissue. For four years I was co-director of the Hopkins Rhinology section teaching residents and running basic and advanced sinus surgery courses for practicing otolaryngologists. I had the honor of being invited to other academic institutions to teach these techniques. Sinus conditions have a significant impact on patients' perceived health and mental outlook. It is amazing to witness the improved quality of life when sinus problems are resolved.
Diagnosing and treating head and neck tumors is an important part of my practice especially involving the thyroid and salivary glands. I qualify as a high-volume thyroid surgeon that translates into better outcomes with fewer complications.
I appreciate the senses such as smell and hearing. Few things are as rewarding as helping restore someone's hearing: to see their delight when they hear sounds they were missing and regaining confidence to interact with others in conversation.
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