PARKERSBURG - It is the people he has treated and the people he has worked with for 40 years that Dr. Mike Santer will remember the most as he officially retired Wednesday.
A reception was held for Santer at Camden Clark Medical Center's St. Joseph's Campus, with friends, co-workers and others wishing him well in the next phase of his life. Camden Clark President and CEO Mike King presented Santer with a plaque.
Santer, who started his cardiology practice in Parkersburg in 1972 and was one of the founding members of Parkersburg Cardiology Associates Inc., said cardiology has changed a lot since he first started.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Camden Clark Medical Center President and CEO Mike King, left, presents Dr. Mike Santer with a plaque recognizing his work over the last 40 years.
''Cardiology practice is unbelievable now,'' he said.
When he first started, if someone appeared in the emergency room having a heart attack they were able to treat the patient with medications, but the patient would end up admitted to the hospital and be in critical condition for weeks with complications.
''They were never the same after that because their heart was so damaged,'' Santer said. ''Now, if someone comes in early enough with a heart attack, they go right up to the catheterization lab, get a heart catheterization where a blocked vessel can be identified, get it open, get a stent in and the patient may walk out of the hospital with very little heart damage three or four days later.''
Santer graduated from Parkersburg Catholic High School, Wheeling Jesuit University and Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and served as a Navy doctor with the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War. After a fellowship in cardiology at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., he returned to Parkersburg to open his own practice.
He was one of the advocates in bringing cardiovascular surgery to Parkersburg.
King called Santer one of the "fathers of cardiology in this area.''
''The thing I have realized about Mike Santer is his deep commitment, not only to patients and their families, but beyond that to this hospital and this community,'' King said.
Friends and co-workers talked with Santer about times they experienced together.
Robin Winans, a cardiology sonographer with Parkersburg Cardiology, said it was a sad day for a lot of people.
''He has been around ever since I started here,'' she said. ''It is definitely a sad day, but we are happy for him. He deserves it.''
Santer is planning to spend more time with his wife, Andrea, and travel across the country to visit their four children and seven grandchildren.
Santer will remember the wonderful people he has worked with at both hospitals and how they have cared for patients.
''I can walk away knowing that we provide in Parkersburg excellent cardiovascular services in both the medical aspect as well as interventional and cardiac surgery,'' he said. ''What has been developed here is really good.
''It has been a wonderful 40 years. I am going to miss the quality people who are in medicine here in Parkersburg. Hopefully, our paths will cross again many times in the future.''