Photo by Shane Wynn
+Akron General, Infectious Diseases Department
+Summit Infectious Diseases, Inc.
+Clinical Professor, Northeast Ohio Medical University
Several years ago when David Watkins was a medical student at the Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, he’d sit in the back row during lectures and take notes. Today, Dr. Watkins is a clinical professor at the same school (now called Northeast Ohio Medical University), observing the physicians of the future as they take notes on his lectures.
“It’s kind of funny because it shows how I’m getting older and how things change,” he says.
Watkins decided to become a doctor because he always enjoyed reading books about famous people in the medical field. In particular, he was fascinated with the stories of smallpox vaccine pioneer Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur, one of the founders of medical microbiology.
It made sense, then, that when it came time for Watkins to determine a medical specialty, he chose infectious diseases.
“They’re kind of interesting. And when I rotated on it, I found out it was stuff I learned easier,” he says. “Trying to figure out the disease, hunt it down and then take care of the problem. I also liked this part of the medical field because many of our patients with an infectious disease are able to be cured.”
Watkins also practices at Akron General Medical Center and Summit Infectious Diseases, Inc.
“Probably the biggest issue in infectious disease in Akron and in the U.S. is antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They may be resistant to all antibiotics or cause us to use some old, more toxic, antibiotics that we weren’t using. If you’re untreatable, it’s like being in the pre-antibiotic era, before the late-1940s.”
At the hospital, Watkins says the doctors and healthcare workers have very clear and open lines of communication, which serve the best interests of the patients.
“We try to take care of patients with tough diseases in a reasonable manner and work together,” he says. “It’s pretty easy for the healthcare workers to talk to each other; it seems to be the way here. We see each other in the halls or in the cafeteria, and we feel comfortable calling each other up so we can get on the same page about a patient.”
In His Spare Time, You’ll Find Him:
* With his Wife and Four Kids — “I like to take the family places, read about history and sports, and watch hockey, football, baseball and rugby.”