It is hard to believe that it has been 11 years since I founded my own medical practice.
At that time it had only been a little over two years since in short order, I had been "encouraged" to resign from the job I had held since I returned to the Illiana region followed by the death of my best friend since my birth, my father.
My Father and Niece
I will take the blame certain amount for the conflict with the CEO who "encouraged" me to resign. I was having a hard time dealing with my father's terminal cancer, and I had been a squeaky wheel by my efforts to remain an honest man. This was our practice's third CEO in eight years and the most focused on profits. When I left I had thought I had found the right place for me.
I had joined a Federally Qualified Heath Center, and while the office was busy I found new purpose in service. The CEO from the last place was still giving me problems but I felt satisfaction in my first year there. However long term I realized that the additional stress placed on me would not be beneficial to my heath.
So I came to the decision that starting my own private practice not only was an option but the best option. Also thanks to my employment at the FQHC I found people that became not just employees, but family and invited two of them to come join me.
I had chosen Hobart as my location due to it being not only where I lived, but having no local pediatricians, St Mary Medical Center was across the street and supportive of my efforts.
Waiting for meFormerly a Dry Cleaner, needed some work
Not ready for Patients yet
The staff and I continued to make design and construction changes.
Until finally we were ready to open
Those first months were slow but we advertised.
And made appearances in the community
Stacy later won the TV raffle
Slowly our name became known and more kids passed though our doors. The following year I decided to do something that was not possible working elsewhere. I found and adopted a dog well suited to being with us in the office, Her name was Darling.
Sleeping was her favorite activity
Very quickly we realized her temperament was perfect for a comfort animal to our kids. She was able to calm down autistic patients and eventually realized that if she heard the crying of a child she would wait at my door to go to the child.
This is not to say that her first days were uneventful. The first week she had to wear a diaper because her previous owner did not get her fixed. the following week she had to stay at the Vet's for heart worm treatment. 6 weeks in although she was finally gaining weight after being abandoned, she started throwing up and needed to be put on an antacid.
Then 2 months to to day after I got her I found out why she gained so much weight. At midnight I woke up to the sound of a whimper and saw a small black tail poking under her belly as she cleaned it.
All told there were four, Wrigley, Comiskey, Molly, and Monkey. and for the next few months my patients would see them grow up. (there would be a special place in Hell if I kept kids from seeing puppies)
By this time people were realizing the special nature of our office - a place where dogs and puppies were part of the staff, where the doctor makes house calls for newborn kids and special needs patients? Wow what a new concept.
For the next ten years we kept the trust with our patients and community. Old staff moved on to better things new staff came in and I became greyer and balder. Turtles joined us in the waiting room along with a train table and an arcade game.
Then Covid Hit
I remember just before New Years day when I first hear about a new form of SARS in China. I, like other physicians followed along and hoped that it would burn out like other emerging infectious diseases in the past. But in the next two months the inevitable occurred. Financially the office was finally getting out of the debt incurred from building a new business but when Covid hit that all changed.
We stayed open to serve our community, closed down our waiting room and protected our bubble for the kids health. Visits decreased and so did our income. We were fortunate to keep afloat with the assistance provided. We became one of the first independent offices to provide covid testing so that patients did not have to wait in a line of cars.
Unfortunately as the end of our second five year lease approached we had to come to grips to how things had changed.
First was the decrease in our daily visits, early on in the pandemic schools were closed and annual exams went down. second was that the hospital across the street from us stopped seeing pediatric patients prior to teenage years, they have since officially closed the pediatric unit for good.
Finally despite efforts to stay in the same office or at least stay in the same retail area, we were not able to come to an agreement with our landlord. The rent is over $4,000 a month, and would be going significantly up in the new year.
We were unsuccessful in our efforts to find something in Hobart and looked in neighboring cities and towns. Size, expense, location, nothing was a perfect fit until we found a happy medium in a location 1 block northwest of 30 and Broadway in Merrillvillle, just across from the Post Office.
It is therefore I announce that we will be moving to this new office, 300 W. 80th Place, Suite A, sometime after May 1st. Our recent name change acknowledges this as Brickyard Pediatrics has become BYP Kids, Board Certified Pediatric Care. Mailings and messages will be sent, new investment in advertising will be made, and will continue to commit to the health and well being of children in the region.
We are coming too