SGCMH welcomes new physician

2/29/2016

Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital (SGCMH) announces the addition of Dr. Susan Swope, internal medicine physician, to its staff.
Dr. Swope will be providing care at the Bloomsdale Medical Centre. Dr. Swope earned her medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis and completed her residency from St. John’s Medical Center in St. Louis. Dr. Swope is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons Internal Medicine.
She’s been in private practice in Fenton since 2001 and jokes that she was washed downstream when her office flooded in December 2015. Dr. Swope has a number of Ste. Genevieve connections that made her decision to join SGCMH that much easier.
“My sister Sally texted Veronica Sharlow (SGCMH Board of Trustees Secretary) and told her my office was wiped out by flooding, and through Veronica, we linked up with Dr. Sharlow (SGCMH Chief of Staff).”
To complete the Ste. Genevieve connection, Dr. Sharlow and Dr. Swope are godparents to Swope’s niece, Elizabeth Tague. Dr. Swope’s brother-in-law, who lives in Lake Forest is also a physician and has practiced at SGCMH, as is Dr. Swope’s father, who also had staff privileges at SGCMH at one time. Plus she helped sandbag in ’93, for which she said she wants credit.
“This is a community that I’ve had some connection with for some time,” Dr. Swope said. “I like the town, I like the community, and people are nice, and I mean genuinely nice here.”
Dr. Swope will admit that she was far from the youngest in her medical school class.
“For several years, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “I actually thought I might go into journalism. But I went back to school and started going down the healthcare path planning to pursue nursing. But my dad and brother-in-law both thought I’d make a terrible nurse because I don’t take orders very well, so I went into pre-med and managed to get accepted at St. Louis University.”
While in medical school, Dr. Swope was on the fence between pursuing psychiatry or internal medicine. Again, her dad, now 90 who just this year let his medical license expire, strongly suggested that she should go into internal medicine.
“He said, ‘Susan I think you’d do better with internal medicine. You’ll get to really know people and you’ll also be able to treat psychiatric issues.’ He was right. There’s a huge overlap. As an internist, I get to know my patients as a whole person, including their family and how they grew up. I like to listen to people and get a feel for where they’re at in their life, and address all of their needs—emotional and physical, because we’re complete beings.”
In hindsight, Dr. Swope said she probably couldn’t do medical school again.
“I was 37 when I finished medical school, and I was 41 when I finished my residency. It was a bit grueling, but that’s ok. You can’t let your age stop you. I have a friend in St. Louis who went back to school and got his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude, no less, at 73. He’s finished his masters now and is enrolled in a doctorate program. Learning doesn’t have to stop.”
Dr. Swope said she is impressed with what she’s seen so far at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital.
“Your facilities are fantastic,” she said. “Honestly, your registration and outpatient areas look finer and fancier than quite a bit of what’s up the road in St. Louis. At the Bloomsdale Medical Center there’s radiology and labs right there, plus women’s services and a pharmacy, so people can really get everything they need in one place. I really like that idea.”
Dr. Swope is married and her husband, media/TV manager for the city of Florissant, brought two children to the marriage. Now they have three grandchildren to enjoy.
“I like to think that I skipped the hard part and went right into the good part,” she said.
Dr. Swope enjoys bicycling and takes part in regional rides like the Tour de Corn and Cotton Ramble, and fully intends to participate in the Ride to Survive in June to benefit cancer care at SGCMH.
“There are some good hills down here as I remember,” she said. “It will hurt, I’m pretty sure.”
Hiking with her four-legged buddy and crafts of various types round out her free time.
“You know, just regular stuff like everyone else.”
Dr. Swope will be practicing at Bloomsdale Family Health Care Monday, Wednesday and Friday for now. Appointments can be made by calling 573-483-3131.
“I hope my existing patients follow me down the river and I’m looking forward to meeting new patients—and checking out Sara’s Ice Cream again,” Dr. Swope laughed.

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