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“Getting there.”

That was my father’s response when I brought my Pinewood Derby car to show him. He had cut the rough shape out of a block of Pine. He helped me file it and it was my job to sand it. I would sand and sand for what seemed like hours for a young boy. I was hoping for a different response. I was ready to proceed to painting, but from my father’s response, I knew I had more sanding to do. My car did not win the race, but I was very proud of my finished product. My car was not designed and constructed by my father. Many of the kids could not say that.

I professed a desire to be a doctor after I completed a school project in the 6th grade on the various systems in the human body. I drew pictures of the Circulatory System and the Digestive System and the Nervous System and explained their functions. I had no family member in the medical field, no mentor to shadow, but I saw the expression on my father’s face when I said it. He had no doubt that I could do it and he told everyone. I never changed my mind.

I excelled in academics in high school and was graduated 4th in my class of 630. I knew the odds of being accepted into Medical School, 1 in 3. The odds for engineers who applied was 1 in 2. I could not see myself in Biology or Zoology if being a doctor was not an option. I chose to major in Electrical Engineering. Biomedical Engineering was not an option then.  My brother-in-law warned me that college was much more demanding than high school and I should not expect straight A’s. My first-year schedule was, Chemistry, Physics, and honors Calculus for three straight quarters. My GPA at the end of the first year was 4.0. I kept a 4.0 until the middle of my second year when I received an A- in Racquetball. I supplemented the curriculum in Electrical Engineering with all the requirements for Medical School. After four years, The Ohio State University graduated me cum laude.

I was accepted to The Medical College of Ohio in Toledo and to Wright State University College of Medicine in Dayton.  I was on the wait list for the Ohio State University College of Medicine. All the road signs pointed north toward Toledo. I even had an apartment rented before OSU sent me an acceptance letter in July.

My years at OSU College of Medicine challenged me intellectually, emotionally, and physically. The foundation was constructed that I built upon for years to come. In my fourth year, I elected to study noninvasive Cardiology for a month rotation with Dr. Wooly. I told Dr. Wooly that I wanted to specialize in Emergency Medicine. He advised me against it and recommended I pursue Cardiology. Emergency Medicine was not yet accepted as a medical specialty, but it excited me. I could not say that about any other specialty.

I matched into the St. Vincent’s Medical Center/ The Toledo Hospital Emergency Medicine Program in Toledo, OH. The program was clinically oriented, and the residents could fly in their helicopter program. I met my future wife during my Internship year. In my third year, I was Chief Resident, and was offered the coveted spot as an attending at The Toledo Hospital Emergency Center after graduation. TTH EC was staffed with six attendings, Drs. Janiak, Crawford, Manning, Webb, Lindstrom, and Rega. They worked eight-hour shifts on a week on week off rotating schedule. Dr Janiak was elected President of the American College of Emergency Physicians and I filled his slot in the rotation.

For the next eleven years, I practiced Emergency Medicine at The Toledo Hospital and taught the residents while in my free time I was married, built a house and started raising my family.

In 1998, physicians in the Emergency Center incorporated a new group, Omni Health Services, Ltd., to provide emergency services to outlying hospitals. I was elected one of the three managing members and subsequently the CEO. Our first contract was Defiance Hospital Emergency Center. We subsequently were awarded the contracts to The ProMedica Air helicopter transportation service, Bay Park Hospital, Bixby Hospital, Herrick Hospital, and Fremont Hospital. I practiced at each of these locations but concentrated my time at Defiance where I was the Director of the Emergency Center.

After practicing Emergency Medicine for thirty years, I decided to end the life of twelve-hour shifts, and working nights, holidays, and weekends. Three years later, I stopped providing administrative services to Omni. I had many projects that I wanted to accomplish.

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