The family practitioner is a doc for all ages. Read how an Edward Medical Group physician can benefit your entire family.
The family practitioner is a doc for all ages
April 29, 2009
As a busy mother of three kids under 6, Pam Kopcio appreciates anything that makes her life a little easier.
Having one family practitioner for the whole family's medical care fits that description. In the Kopcios' case, that doctor is Dr. Patrick O'Donnell of Edward Medical Group in Naperville.
"Many people don't realize that family practice physicians treat everyone from newborns to the very elderly," O'Donnell said.
Kopcio especially appreciated the one-stop medical care during this past hectic Christmas season, when flu and viruses struck four of her five family members.
"We were able to bundle up the family and head to one destination for treatment. And recently, I was able to schedule back-to-back appointments for Jonathan's 1-year-old visit and 5-year-old Grace's pre-kindergarten exam," she said.
But convenience is just one of the benefits of having an ongoing relationship with a family practitioner.
"I've been going to Dr. O'Donnell since I was a 12-year-old growing up in Naperville, and now I'm 31," Kopcio said. "He's also my mother's and my sister's doctor. He knows the history of my whole extended family. I'm more confident that nothing will be missed than I would be if we were going to multiple doctors. And I know the staff in his office. There's a real family atmosphere."
O'Donnell adds that having firsthand knowledge of the family health history helps in developing a preventive health plan for the patient.
"For example, if there's colon cancer in a particular family, we would start screenings earlier than is normally recommended," he said.
A family practitioner for 25 years, O'Donnell said it's rewarding to start caring for another generation of his patients' families.
"I enjoy seeing how they turned out. I feel like I'm their 'granddoctor,'" he said.
When O'Donnell was in medical school, he knew he wanted to be a primary care physician. He considered pediatrics and internal medicine, but was attracted to family medicine.
"There was something about seeing the entire family that appealed to me," O'Donnell said. "It gives you greater exposure to the family dynamics, which can be helpful in treating the whole person. If one of the parents loses a job, for example, it can cause a lot of stress and have an impact on family members' health."
Even if you're a healthy individual, couple or family, it's important to have primary care physicians, whether a family practitioner or a combination of doctors, such as an internist and a pediatrician.
Regular physicals can catch some illnesses at early stages when they're most treatable, sometimes even before there are symptoms. If you do become ill or injured, your primary care physician can help coordinate care with any needed specialists or health care facilities.
For referral to an Edward Medical Group physician, call 630-527-3641 or visit www.edward.org/emg.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services