Today Dr. Monahan continues as an active medical practitioner at Amigo and in the community. In addition to being totally involved in the Amigo office practice, he has maintained his positions on the Active Medical Staffs of Sharp Chula Vista Hospital and Scripps Mercy Chula Vista. This involves communicating with other hospital staff members on details of patient care. Our office will admit patients directly to these hospitals as well as through the emergency room. I see Amigo patients in the hospital room setting, the ER, the ICU, the Coronary Care Unit as well as the Surgical ICU. This allows me to communicate with my critical care colleagues and insures that the transition out of the hospital is smooth, complete and care is not dropped.
It also allows me to keep up with the rapid advancements in medical technology and knowledge. By participating in the Hospital Tumor Boards, for example, I get to present patients to Oncologists, Radiation Therapists, Radiologists, Pathologists, and Surgeons to get a consensus on the most appropriate treatment. I feel strongly that physicians doing mostly outpatient practice need to be involved in the hospital and subspecialty care to keep up ones skills. Sadly this does not seem to be the trend in medical care. As a sidelight hospitalists likewise need to understand the nuances of outpatient care. Communication is key to quality care; it always has been.
I started thinking about becoming a doctor ar the age of six ater reading of the exploits of Dr. Tom Dooly as he treated the people of rural Laos. With that in mind, I think my medical career evolved as it did. While in Medical School, I became very interested in the care of the underserved and very ill. Early in my career I worked in outpatient clinics caring for Native Hawaiians, who lived in the Homestead Areas of Hawaii. They experienced the highest rate of disease in the state. I traveled to the peninsula of Kalapapa on the island of Molokai to treat the victims of Hanson’s Disease at the refuge established by Father Damien in the nineteenth century, where he eventually contracted the disease. From Hawaii I traveled to Hiroshima, Japan to study the long-term effects of radiation on the survivors of the atomic bomb blast.
Returning to the USA and Cook County Hospital in Chicago, I first encountered the problems of those who reside in the inner city; where many had poor access to medical care and tended to wait until a problem reached critical proportion before they sought medical attention. I delivered babies in the south side of Chicago at Northwestern’s Home Delivery Service, which served Chicago’s infamous Robert Taylor and Cabrini Green housing projects.
My first experience in treating our veterans was at the VA Research Hospital at Northwestern University in Chicago. I also served as an Internal Medical Resident at the Long Beach VA Hospital, where I dealt with the fallout from war, ranging from horrors experienced by survivors of the Bataan Death March in the Philippines to those suffering from posttraumatic disorders from their service in Vietnam. Before settling on the West Coast, I went to Durban, South Africa to study at the King Edward VIII Hospital, and saw amoebic dysentery, typhoid, and tetanus, and other tropical diseases of the local Zulu population.
I served an Internship in Surgery at Los Angeles County / USC Hospital where I was again face to face with the result of the inner city violence and disease endemic to many of the two million patients cared for by that hospital.
After completing my formal training I decided to locate my practice in Chula Vista in San Diego’s South Bay, six miles from America’s border with Mexico. This resulted in the rapid improvement of my Spanish. My interest in medical conditions in the third world continues . Since 1979, I have traveled with my wife , Sally, to the Brazilian Amazon as a medical volunteer. Our interest is the Fundacao Esperanca Clinic in Santarem, which provides tropical medical care to the malnourished local residents, and the isolated rural villages called Quilombos located a days travel by boat. The Quilombos were established in the eighteenth century by escaped Brazilian-African slaves who fled into the Amazon and established these villages, which exist to this day. Upon completing the mini-residency program in Aids/HIV medicine offered by the Owen Clinic of UCSD in 2003, I was able to give a series of lectures to doctors, nurses, and students in Brazil regarding the latest treatment of AIDS/HIV.
In 2006, I traveled with colleague Dr. Robert Backus to South Africa. We studied programs involving the prevention of AIDS/HIV transmission from infected mothers to their unborn babies. We observed multidrug resistant Tuberculosis in the Zulu people. We traveled to Maputo, Mozambique for discussions with the Gates and Clinton foundations about our Brazilian, Portuguese speaking, Nursing colleagues helping in Africa. Unfortunately, Mozambique after nearly two decades of war proved too dangerous for our outside medical intervention.
I completed my third annual Medical Mission to Nepal in October 2012 (See Nepal). I think if you chose to obtain your medical care at Amigo you will find an alert, up to date staff who will handle your illness with the expertise, kindness and compassion you deserve.