Friday, March 21, 2014
Frankly, I was eavesdropping while walking laps at Summerville Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehab last year. I overheard the byplay between a physical therapist and his patient.
Intrigued by the patience and compassion of the therapist, I slowed down each time I passed. Knowing Jim was facing knee replacements, I thought this therapist would be perfect for him. Turns out, I was right.
“There’s a science and art to every health care profession,” Dr. Michael Lominac told me. “So much of the time we don’t emphasize the art of giving therapy patients the time they need, talking with them in a certain way, taking time to break down issues they may be having or finding different ways to get to the point or building a mutual relationship.
“And I think that’s the tough part.”
And the best part? Shaping patient motivation.
“That’s the beauty of this profession, dealing with patients’ strengths and weaknesses and getting them to achieve their goals.”
Dr. Lominac was drawn to a healthcare career because of his late mother’s 14-year cancer battle. As his father was in the military and gone a lot, he often took responsibility to get her to appointments. He was there to witness good bedside manners ... “I could see how it made such a difference in outcomes of patients,” so he was determined to follow that path.
He got his bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, studying muscle motion, anatomy, biomechanics, exercise physiology, and the foundation of exercise. He had also worked in a PT clinic and observed good bedside manners there and his resolve strengthened. The doctor also spent time taking upper level prerequisites to get into PT school, and after what he calls “three grueling years,” achieved his PT doctorate. Dr. Lominac says he got into orthopedics – dealing with joints, surgeries and arthritis – because “that’s the stuff that’s going to be more related to everyday people.”
He came to Summerville and its PT department after moving to this area to find a place that was warm, close to the beach and had friendly people. His attraction to SMC’s well-equipped PT clinic stemmed from its relative smallness, enabling therapists to be physically close to patients. “There is a one-on-oneness here, which you don’t find in every clinic.”
“My co-workers – Dana, Jennifer, Justin and Tara – have a lot of experience. I think we complement one another and collaborate well.”
He always tells patients they are welcome to pop in, catch up and ask questions or get advice. “And I know that our director, Julie Ridgeway, is okay with this when I have a pocket of time I can give to former patients.”
The therapist/physician relationship is also very important to the wellbeing of the patient, he says, and there is good collaboration here.
Dr. Lominac lives in Summerville with his wife LeeAnn and their 11-week-old daughter Leia. He gives back to his profession and the community at large by volunteering at CARES, an MUSC service to individuals who don’t have much money and are without health care. MUSC students will treat them for free under the guidance of a licensed PT. He also talks with students to see how things are going with them.
I know how much he helped Jim recover and am so glad I took those slow laps.
Sometimes snooping isn’t all bad!