Robert Roth, DO, FACEP, is a soft-spoken Southern gentleman whom many of us know from the ACEP Council, where he has been a fixture for many years. He was a stalwart on my steering committee when I was Council speaker, and so I was absolutely delighted to learn that he would receive the 2013 Council Meritorious Service Award.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 33 – No 10 – October 2014
Dr. Roth began visiting the Wellness Booth at ACEP’s annual meeting soon out of residency in the early 1990s. He had a physician on paper (for insurance purposes) but really had not accessed medical care for himself. It seemed a good investment (especially because the booth was free in the beginning) to have a screening of his general health status, including blood pressure, body fat, and metabolic and other blood baseline testing. So, like many healthy fellow members, he used this as his entry point into the medical system. He would visit every other year or so and would alternate between optional blood screenings for hepatitis titers and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Everything seemed fine, and he said he picked up useful health information as well as a sense of emotional well-being from visiting the booth, manned by ACEP colleagues interested in optimizing wellness.
Dr. Roth received a moderately aggressive form of treatment that has been successful with minimal side effects, and his PSA levels have fallen back to below his baseline (normal) levels.
A Red Flag
After several years of PSA testing at the Wellness Booth, Dr. Roth noticed a doubling followed by a more rapid rise in his PSA levels, which were still low but troubling enough that he consulted a physician back home who decided to send him to a urologist “just to check things out.” Even though he was not too concerned, this physician did further testing and felt it might be wise to biopsy several areas. The biopsy revealed a moderately aggressive tumor in one quadrant. Along with two colleagues at a local hospital, the urologist sat down with Dr. Roth and his wife and laid out all of the options so they could decide how to approach the problem. After performing obsessive research on the condition (like all physicians who find themselves with a potentially serious diagnosis) and becoming thoroughly confused and frightened in the process, Dr. Roth found this meeting to be an enormous gift that allowed him and his wife to relax and trust that someone else was handling the case expertly, while allowing them to make the decisions that would most directly affect them.