Published 1:49 am, Saturday, December 9, 2017
Since 1998 Dr. John Pfenninger has prepared nearly 1,000 weekly columns offering medical advice to readers of the Daily News.
Those columns have presented pertinent medical advice on a multitude of ailments, diseases, conditions and disorders. Although that’s is a vital part of Pfenninger’s practice, Medical Procedures Center, it doesn’t totally sum up his vision for his career, “Treating people, not just problems.”
“Doctors want to be back to being doctors. Patients want to get back to being treated like a patient instead of a computer log,” he said. “Instead of putting their arm around a shoulder, doctors are typing away on their computers. The little things you do have such import and we don’t understand that.”
Although Pfenninger’s columns have included many various health related topics, it was the 2015 Cleveland Clinic Conference that generated the largest amount of feedback.
“There was just so much information there,” Pfenninger said. “But, the main thing was that everything starts with inflammation. If you reduce inflammation you reduce strokes, heart attacks, cancer and dementia.”
Aspirin, one of those anti-inflammatory medications, was another essential topic for the physician that first arrived in Midland during 1977.
“I’ve been pushing aspirin for almost 30 years. As I travelled the country and taught on colon cancer, there is no doubt about it, aspirin decreased colon cancer. It really is a miracle drug,” he said.
Not only did his columns benefit readers, but also the author.
“Personally, it was important for me to follow my own advice. It helped me pay attention to myself,” Pfenninger said.
However, if it hadn’t been for a downtown Midland businessman, those columns may never been written. Pfenninger originally was headed to seminary. But, Bill Meier (founder of Meier Camera Shop) steered Pfenninger on the path to a career in medicine.
“If he hadn’t said what he said, there is no way I would have been a physician,” Pfenninger said.
Now, it’s time to pass that career to Dr. Lorenzo Berlanga, As of Jan. 1, 2018, Berlanga will assume ownership of the Medical Procedures Center. However, Pfenninger will assist with the transition and continue seeing patients until May 1, 2018.
“Belanga also wants to make a difference,” Pfenninger said. “He wants to do the same things. He’s a family doctor that can do procedures. He wants to keep that whole thing alive and is excited to take over.”
Pfenninger’s original plan was to retire at 63. But, that was delayed seven years.
“I started practicing at 28 and I’ve been in my own practice since 1989,” said Pfenninger, 70. “As I’ve prepared for retirement, I’ve talked to lots of people. To a person, they have agreed their days are full.”
Those days will quickly fill up for Pfenninger as he plans on writing three books.
“One will be my son’s story,” Pfenninger said of Matthew, who had brain cancer. “Another will be putting the best columns together. Then a book of advice to my grandkids.”
But, Pfenninger was very adamant that there will not be any additional medical books, to complement the four he previously published.
Currently, there’s one other big adventure for the Harley-Davidson owner.
“I’m going to ride my bike out to California and back,” Pfenninger said.
So, anyone seeing 70-year-old man roaring down the road on a Harley, with a stethoscope in his hand and writing a book, be sure to wave and say, “Thank you Dr. Pfenninger for all the advice and care you’ve given over the years.”