It was something that easily could have been left unsaid in the course of a doctor’s busy day, but Todd Blue, chief of radiology at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, wanted to say it:
“I just happen to think we take care of a wonderful community of patients here at L+M,” Dr. Blue said in a recent interview. “It’s a nice mix of people, and they’re great to take care of.”
Dr. Blue reads patient X-Rays, CT scans and other diagnostic images – much of it done behind the scenes – but he also directly interacts with patients as an interventional radiologist performing angiograms and other procedures.
“Our patients are well educated,” he says. “Most people know a fair amount about what’s going on, and they understand the concepts and goals of our procedures and diagnostic tests.”
Dr. Blue’s point is significant because it speaks to his larger philosophy on the care L+M provides. The word he likes to use is “teamwork,” and, along with every doctor, nurse and technologist involved in a procedure, the patient, too, is a key player on that team.
“It’s important for the patients to believe in us and work with us,” Dr. Blue said. “And, at L+M, I find the patients really have a lot of faith in us to go out and do our best and make them feel better, and, for me, that just makes for a wonderful practice.”
Teamwork is not something Dr. Blue takes lightly. It was a value ingrained in a young Todd Blue as he grew up playing sports in the Philadelphia area. Baseball was his true passion, and he was good at it, but he also realized that his best chance to succeed in life would be through academics.
And so, while he played baseball at Ursinus College near Valley Forge, PA, Todd Blue simultaneously pursued a pre-med course of study. One of the highlights of his career was being named as an Academic All-American in his senior year of college – a recognition given only to those who achieve excellence in both sports and academics.
“I knew quite early in life that I wasn’t going to make the pros, but I still had a great Division III baseball career at Ursinus,” Dr. Blue says.
“The good thing about those years,” Blue adds, “is a lot of the lessons I learned playing competitive sports – including teamwork, discipline, time-management and organizational skills – have all really crossed over nicely into the medical profession. My sports background actually helps when I’m working with the team back in the special procedures lab and interacting with patients and doctors… I think I use those lessons a lot more than I probably realize in my daily work.”
Blue credits one of his old high school teachers – a woman named Mrs. Depree who taught an anatomy and physiology course – with piquing his interest in the human body. He briefly considered orthopedic surgery as a way to stay in touch with sports, but Dr. Blue ultimately became intrigued with radiology. He graduated from Temple Medical School and then went to Yale for both his residency and fellowship in radiology.
Dr. Blue arrived at L+M in 1999, following a recommendation from one of his Yale colleagues, Dr. Ira Sitko, who had already joined the L+M staff as an interventional radiologist.
“It just so happened that we contacted each other as I was looking for a job,” Dr. Blue recalls. “Dr. Sitko was such a good guy and such a good doctor and, if he was happy at L+M, I figured it would work out well for me. And, it has. For me, it has been an ideal practice.”
Today, Dr. Blue said he loves the diversity of his job, including the interaction he has with referring physicians from other specialties throughout L+M.
“I find our referring physicians to be such a nice group of people and very easy to interact with,” Dr. Blue says. “And I think we all have essentially similar goals when taking care of patients. We’re all on the team when it comes to providing good, scientific patient care, but with compassion and attention to the patient.”
That shared passion for success – from his days on the baseball diamond to today’s complex duties as chief of radiology – helps Dr. Blue excel. “As I’ve thought about it at different points throughout my career, that’s what makes this work great,” he says. “It’s people coming together and working as a team to make a difference.”
For more information about Dr. Blue, click here.