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Canton-Potsdam Hospital medical staff honor careers of Drs. Choong, Mina

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POTSDAM —The retirements from active practice of Patrick T. Choong, DO, and George M. Mina, MD, were commemorated at a meeting of the full medical staff of Canton-Potsdam Hospital Thursday.

Dr. Mina joined the meeting by conference telephone from his residence in Florida.

Alexandru A. Stoian, MD, assistant chief of the medical staff, remarked on both men’s commitment to the community over their many years of service. “Canton-Potsdam Hospital has achieved quality milestones that have brought national recognition, such as our ‘A’ grade from the Leapfrog Group, and our successful participation in the Project Joints effort of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement,” he said. “Dr. Choong and Dr. Mina were major contributors on the road that brought us to this success.”

Dr. Choong became board certified in 1986 and joined CPH in 1987; he was the sole ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist in practice in the area. He held the position of assistant chairman of the CPH surgery department during his career.

Dr. Mina joined CPH in 1972 and became board certified in 1973. He also served on the staff of the E. J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur. Dr. Mina served as chief of the medical staff at CPH from 1980 to 1985. Dr. Stoian noted that in 1999, Dr. Mina donated part of his physician practice office building to the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Foundation, the Foundation’s first and only gift of real estate.

“Dr. Mina was the longest serving member of our medical staff,” noted Dr. Stoian. “He provided impeccable medical care, often taking call without relief, and serving the Gouverneur community as well. He and his wife, Mrs. Mary Mina, and their family, committed themselves to service to our area for nearly 40 years.

“Dr. Choong also maintained an impeccable record, practicing almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week with his wife, Mrs. Margaret Choong, working many hours also in their office; together they have been pillars of our community,” said Dr. Stoian.

Both men were asked to provide a few words of advice to the many members of the medical staff who are both relatively new to their practices and new to the area.

Dr. Mina said he had seen at least four distinct and major medical and financial shifts in the practice of medicine in his career: he advised those present to “focus on the patient, because change is constant—you can expect things to keep changing in medicine, but the patient is most important. That does not change,” he said. “Most of all, I would say I am grateful to my colleagues for their support,” he noted.

Then he invited the entire staff to Florida for their next staff meeting.

Dr. Choong agreed, saying the support of his colleagues in helping him care for patients was instrumental in his success. He thanked the medical staff and the entire CPH staff for their support over the past 27 years. His advice was simple: “humility is your watchword,” he said, recalling that his medical school dean had advised him as a young graduate to remember that “our first name is still not ‘doctor.’”

He noted that patients heal themselves most of the time. “We’re just there to give them support and encouragement and guidance—that’s our role as physicians and healers,” he said.

He also invited members of the medical staff to join him in his post-retirement activities, “mostly golf,” he said.

Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s medical staff consists of 120 members who are doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and a certified nurse midwife. Twenty-five specialty areas are represented, including the specialty of hospitalist medicine, which is the care of patients who are hospitalized.

The medical staff maintains practice committees overseeing all specialty and generalist areas, and monitors, through its medical director Dr. Robert Rogers, II, quality indicators relating to medical practice as well as continuing medical education and other professional issues.

As a community benefit, members of the medical staff routinely offer free community talks and educational opportunities on many health topics throughout the year. Through its membership dues and individually, the medical staff has contributed generously to families and individuals in need as well as to the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Foundation, which supports patient care. For more information about the CPH medical staff, interested individuals may visit www.cphospital.org.

For those wishing to commemorate the retirements of Dr. Choong and Dr. Mina with a charitable gift in their honor, the CPH Foundation offers several charitable gift vehicles that benefit patients in the region. For more information, interested individuals may contact Laura Cordts, Executive Director of the CPH Foundation, at 315-261-5412.

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