Doctor spends career in Hudson
Thursday, January 31, 2013
By Meg Heaton
Dr. Stephen Schmitz has been a part of Hudson healthcare since 1981. His work and that of the Hudson Hospital and Clinic have been a successful collaboration for more than three decades.
Schmitz, who today is one of the Hudson Physicians 18 family medicine doctors, was one of four doctors at the Hudson Clinic back in 1981. Those days Hudson also had doctors at the St. Croix Valley Clinic. The two organizations merged in 1987 and built a new facility adjacent to the former Hudson Hospital on Wisconsin Street.
Today Hudson Physicians, a division of Western Wisconsin Medical Associates, has a staff of doctors and health professionals that specialize in family and internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, geriatrics, women’s healthcare and sports and occupational medicine.
As the hospital marks its 60th anniversary, Schmitz took some time to reflect on his own professional history in Hudson.
After completing his residency at St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Schmitz, then 30, came to practice in Hudson and never left. “I have grown up here. When we came it was a small bedroom community where a lot of people who worked at 3M lived. None of this was here,” he said gesturing out a clinic window that overlooked Crest View Drive. “Back then there was an A&W where Taco John’s is and the Hudson House, not much more.”
He recalls those early years of his practice fondly when he and his colleagues did something of everything from delivering babies to seeing patients in the office to manning the emergency room at the hospital. His day included rounds at the hospital, something that is handled by “hospitalists” these days, doctors who specialize in the care of patients once they are admitted to the hospital.
Schmitz says the change is probably a good move for overall patient care, but he admits to missing those rounds. These days he will occasionally pay “social visits” to his patients.
Schmitz said he has been around Hudson long enough to treat multiple generations of a family. “There are people I saw when we were both young. I delivered their children and I’m seeing those children and their families. It’s a nice base of familiar faces.”
While things may have seemed more personal in the “old days,” Schmitz believes that changes in the way he and colleagues deliver healthcare today are positive for patients.
“A bigger, better clinic and hospital means people can come to us and never have to be sent over to the cities for a specialist or a treatment. You can come here and never have to leave your hometown to get what you need.”
And even though the number of doctors and specialists has grown along with the hospital, Schmitz believes the essence of healthcare in Hudson hasn’t changed.
“Everybody knows more about health and medicine – both the professionals and the patients – but what is most important remains the one on one relationship between a doctor and his patient. I am grateful to have had that at the core of my career from the beginning.”
Schmitz says changes in Hudson healthcare have benefited the community. He said the relationship with Health Partners has been good for the hospital, providing additional resources and more access to specialized medicine for him and his patients.
Schmitz says Hudson has always been a safe community that will continue to draw new residents. He believes the role of the Hudson Hospital and Clinic and Hudson Physicians is to deliver the best healthcare possible in the most efficient manner to that community.
“Our patients have the opportunity to get as good a healthcare as they want right here. And I expect that things will only get better as we continue to grow.”