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A Doctor with a Heart for Seniors from Head to Toe

Atlanta Hospital News Feature

Smyrna, GA (December 6, 2007) – “I get to hear the most amazing stories,” says Dr. La’Genia Mitchell-Smith, a podiatric surgeon who spends her days taking care of seniors in metro Atlanta nursing homes and assisted living facilities. “My patients love to talk about their lives – it’s a journey through history. And, no other age group could be more appreciative of your efforts,” she adds.

Dr. Mitchell-Smith is director of Village Podiatry Group’s Senior Care Division. Each day she manages the foot and ankle healthcare of patients in 12 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Patients are typically over age 65. Currently, her oldest patient is 103.

Dr. Mitchell-Smith received her doctorate at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two intensive years of surgical training followed at Albert Einstein Medical Center/Germantown Medical Hospital in Philadelphia. With her residency completed, in 2005 she accepted the challenge of directing Village Podiatry Group’s new program to provide medical care to seniors.

“I think my love for my own grandparents led me to have a genuine desire to work with this age group,” says Dr. Mitchell-Smith.

Village Podiatry provides medical and surgical care for all ages as Georgia’s largest podiatric practice. The Senior Care Division delivers care directly to facility residents by bringing the physician and equipment on site. Foot and ankle problems are numerous among the elderly due to nail infections, arthritis and vascular disease. Diabetes related neuropathy is especially prevalent among this age and requires vigilant care to avoid complications of non-healing wounds.

Dr. Mitchell-Smith says that to work successfully with seniors requires patience, compassion and a gentle touch. She notes that her job is much more than medical care, it is about building relationships.

“These patients are lonely; they crave personal interaction,” says Dr. Mitchell-Smith. She finds the most difficult part is when one of her patients passes away. “That is inherent to this job and can be emotionally painful,” she says. “But the rewards are far greater and truly invaluable.”

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