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Why having a primary care physician is so important

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Dr. Joseph Weatherly, a family doctor at Bingham Healthcare.

This story is brought to you by Bingham Healthcare and Dr. Joseph Weatherly.

BLACKFOOT — I think humans avoid going to the doctor because Google exists, and it seems easier to think that we can do for free what doctors have spent thousands of dollars learning. I mean, everyone can diagnose medical conditions, am I right?
We can easily talk ourselves into some rare tropical disease, but then think it’s probably fine cause we haven’t died yet.
Let me tell you from first-hand experience, there’s a reason primary-care doctors are here. Dr. Joseph Weatherly, from Bingham Healthcare, saved my life and then turned around and saved my boss’s life like he’s some kind of superhero walking around without a cape.
I had decided discount plastic surgery out of state seemed like a good idea. I had struggled to make any progress towards recovery. I had no more energy at six weeks post-op than I did at one day post-op. It was impossible to take deep breaths. I knew it wasn’t normal, but I couldn’t put my finger on any possibility other than I wasn’t trying hard enough to get better.
After sitting through a full-blown intervention with my sweet boss, Gary Stewart, he loaded me into his truck and took me to see Dr. Weatherly. He took my blood and I left feeling like I could check the “well-I-tried” box.
By 6 p.m., Dr. Weatherly had me on the phone and said:
Do not pass go.
Do not collect $200.
Head straight to the ER, your hemoglobin is critically low.
I tried to explain that I was tired and I had my kids to think about, that I had just gotten into my pjs which we all know is like a really big deal. To be clear, 30 minutes earlier I had illegally paid Uber to drive my kid home because I couldn’t for the life of me fathom how I would walk down the stairs and travel the five miles to her friend’s home to pick her up myself.
I would for sure consider going in the morning pending my work schedule. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, I legit left with a sigh, my hair in a messy bun and in my pjs.
When I got to the ER, they had me hooked up and ready for a blood transfusion within minutes.
The best/worst words you can hear in the ER?
You’re lucky to be alive.
After watching me struggle to breathe as I received unit after unit of blood, the ER doc said I wasn’t leaving without a CT scan. I was so tired afterwards that I fell asleep as I awaited the results. I awoke to an entire team surrounding me. Pulmonary embolism. Blood clots throughout both lungs. They were highly concerned that my healthy mom left this world from a stroke with absolutely zero preexisting conditions at 54. This is like a bad sign or something. I was leaving the ER that night but only for my own little hospital room upstairs, all in the name of LIFE and not going to heaven prematurely.
My first thought? My girls would end up in track suits with bowl haircuts without me. I had to live and I’m so glad Dr. Weatherly not only knew what tests to run but that he personally cared enough to call and make sure that I got the help I needed.
That’s what primary care physicians do for people.
Earlier this year, I had the chance to try and return the favor to my dear mentor Gary. We were at work, when he made a comment that he couldn’t breathe, especially when he worked out.
Katie: Wow, I’m not a doctor but that doesn’t sound good. Maybe you should get an appointment.
Gary: I’m not a wimp (Full disclosure: that statement has been edited to become more family friendly).
Katie: DUDE. No one said you were. Here I am hoping you don’t die, and you think I’m calling you names.
Gary: I’ll be fine.
FOUR DAYS later, I watched him walk to the second floor of the Mountain America Center and sit for 15 minutes before he could even speak.
Katie: Wow, I think we can both agree it is time for a doctor.
Gary: Why?
Katie: I guess so you don’t die?
Nevertheless, he persisted. Three days later, he relented. He stopped by to see Dr. Weatherly on his way to work. The doc ran an EKG and told him that he had a heart attack, and six hours later, he was prepped for surgery and found out he missed having a Widow Maker by a single millimeter. He’s lucky to be alive.
We are both so grateful for Dr. Weatherly. Primary care doctors like him are crucial because they serve as the first line of defense in identifying and managing health issues before they become serious. They provide continuous, comprehensive care, ensuring patients receive consistent treatment and monitoring over time. By building long-term relationships with patients, primary care doctors can tailor health advice and interventions to individual needs.
Dr. Weatherly was inspired to study medicine and become a doctor because he wanted to have the opportunity to interact with and help people at critical times. He likes helping to educate people of all ages on how to live healthy lives.
“Practicing family medicine creates opportunities for me as a physician to address multiple aspects of healthcare in a person’s life and be there with them, whenever needed,” says Dr. Weatherly. “And my philosophy as a doctor incorporates a patient’s individual goals and ideas and integrates those into a whole-body approach to medicine—ultimately delivering an individually tailored healthcare experience.”
You can find a family medicine physician close to you by visiting:
The post Why having a primary care physician is so important appeared first on East Idaho News.

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