Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
If it’s Friday, Arthur Flatau, MD, vascular surgeon, can often be found listening to war stories from some of the residents at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, not far from his office at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown, Md.
It’s not a purely social activity, though. As many of the veterans need treatment for various vascular diseases, Dr. Flatau volunteered to visit Charlotte Hall, saving his elderly patients the inconvenience of being transported to and from appointments.
And while he didn’t serve in the military, Dr. Flatau feels a special kinship with those who did. “I value the sacrifices they’ve made,” he says. “After all, the WWII veterans have been referred to as ‘the greatest generation,’ and because of their efforts, my generation has prospered.”
Originally from Tampa, Fla., where he was in private practice for 23 years, Dr. Flatau came to southern Maryland by way of Bucks County, Pa., where his wife, Karyn, was raised.
“Our kids were grown, and her parents were getting along in years,” he explains. “So in 2008, when I saw an ad for a vascular surgeon at Grand View Hospital in Sellersville, we felt it was a good opportunity for her to spend more time with them.”
Knowing he needed a tertiary hospital for referring cases beyond Grand View’s resources, Dr. Flatau became acquainted with Edward Woo, MD, then the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s vice chief and program director for the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy.
When Dr. Woo came to MedStar as director of the Vascular Program, one of his first hires was Dr. Flatau.
“You want to bring people you know are excellent,” Dr. Woo says. He adds that Dr. Flatau’s skills and expertise made him “a perfect fit in a community hospital environment like at St. Mary’s. He’s been nothing but a superstar.”
Having Dr. Flatau on board meant that St. Mary’s can offer a wider range of surgical procedures, such as EVAR, a minimally invasive method for repairing abdominal aortic aneurysms that saves patients both recovery and travel times.
“The vast majority of these aneurysms can be handled this way, and there’s no reason it can’t be performed at a community hospital,” Dr. Flatau says.
Coincidentally, the first EVAR procedure performed at St. Mary’s was on William Hubbard, a U.S. Army veteran whom Dr. Flatau met at Charlotte Hall.
“He’s a nice gentleman, and I’m really pleased he continues to do well,” Dr. Flatau says.
When time permits, Dr. Flatau makes his way back to Florida to join his wife at the barrier island house they were building before they moved to Pennsylvania. “If it’s anything related to being on the water, you’ll find me down there doing it,” he says.