10 Questions with Orthopedic Surgeon Thomas Meade, MD
BY EMILY SHIFFER
Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Meade, MD, has been taking care of people for decades, starting with a paper route in Pittston that cemented his work ethic through a long career as a surgeon and innovator. For the fifth time, he’s being honored by The Citizens’ Voice Readers’ Voice Award as Best Surgeon.
10 Questions Interview With Thomas Meade, MD
Thomas Meade, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Coordinated Health and LVPG Orthopedics–Station Circle, has been honored by The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre with “The Citizens’ Voice 2021 Readers’ Voice Award: Best Surgeon.” It is his fifth year receiving the recognition.
“The Citizens’ Voice award has special meaning to me for many reasons. My relationship with local newspapers shaped my life starting at age 11 when I had a 98-home paper route in Pittston,” Meade says. “It cemented a sustained work ethic and lifelong desire to someday return and work in my hometown.”
The route was passed down to both of his brothers, Mike and Pat, resulting in a 10-year paper route “dynasty” in Pittston.
He fulfilled a dream in 2014 when he renovated the former dental office of Shawn Casey, DMD, on Oak Street, across from the old Convention Hall, where he expanded his orthopedic knee practice into a full-service orthopedic practice.
Since joining Coordinated Health, now a part of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), Meade has continued to bring high-quality health and orthopedic care to the northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) region.
“The people of NEPA are unique, appreciative, proud, resilient, loyal and patriotic,” Meade says. “I am so honored and humbled to be recognized by The Citizens’ Voice readers for a fifth year.”
Get to know Dr. Meade with his answers to these 10 insightful questions.
1. What inspired you to get into medicine?
Growing up in the coal regions of Pennsylvania, I saw the respect and admiration my parents had for our local physicians. I wanted to study hard and become a physician to help people – people like my parents, my dad was a Pennsylvania State Trooper and my mom was a high school cafeteria worker – and earn respect in a vocation that would never feel like a job, but a calling. I knew as a doctor that I could serve folks for as long as I am capable.
2. What is the best part of your job?
Every patient has a story, including where they live, work, retire, go to school, hobbies, military service, favorite sports, etc. Extracting and painting that picture opens a door. It is a privilege to be invited into their world for a short time and see their orthopedic issue from a perspective not taught in medical school.
3. What is the hardest part of your job?
Surgery is very humbling. There is no such thing as perfection. Outcomes are never 100% predictable, as every human body harbors a unique genetic blueprint, and a life of choices and experiences that will contribute to variable results. Excellent results are rewarding to deal with. Complications are inevitable and emotionally draining and difficult for the patient, family and the physician. Thankfully, experience, communication, empathy and education are tools that help navigate these medical inevitabilities.
4. In your specialty, what do you imagine the future will bring for patient care?
Some major changes in orthopedics will include the continued migration of elective procedures to the outpatient setting. Hospital stays will be limited to very sick/trauma patients, or highly complicated or risky procedures. Additionally, robotics and orthobiologics will continue to change the landscape.
5. What is your proudest accomplishment of your career?
I have to break it down into three equal categories. The first is developing Allentown Sports Medicine. Bringing college-educated athletic trainers and fellowship-trained physician coverage to dozens of schools, colleges, age groups, and Olympic development teams. Second, I am very proud of co-developing the medical fitness industry in the Lehigh Valley. And finally, I am proud to be the lead designer/developer of eight medical facilities in NEPA, including the showcase 300,000-square-foot Integrated Health Campus in Allentown and other facilities in Lehighton, Hometown, Hazleton and Pittston.
6. What is one of the most rewarding things you do?
Hosting two local cable TV shows on medical topics.
7. How do you fit in time for exercise or self-care?
A busy, high-energy schedule requires staying healthy, and I have a commitment to a proper diet, adequate rest, selected supplements and exercise. All four must be a priority every day and be budgeted into a daily schedule that starts for me at 5 a.m. and ends around 9 p.m.
8. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy riding on the D&L Trail, open water and pool swimming, and recreational boating.
9. What’s one interesting fact about you that would surprise us?
As a second-year medical student, I traveled with a vascular surgical team for Kidney One to harvest organs from donors. I was encouraged to become a transplant surgeon instead of an orthopedic surgeon.
10. What’s your favorite type of music, and what is your favorite song?
I love classic `70s rock. And my favorite song is “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Learn more about Dr. Meade by visiting his profile at LVHN.org/TDMeade