Last week we featured Dr Michael Gordon. This week, we asked the same questions of Paul Lento, MD, a triple board certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation physician here at SOA.
What inspired you to become a physician?
Not so much “what” but “who”. My father had a pretty strong influence on my decision. He often talked that I should choose a career to help improve people’s lives but was also challenging. I thought medicine would be the best avenue to achieve both of these goals.
Why Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)?
While I was a General Medical Officer in the Navy taking care of Marines, I realized most of the personnel I saw had non-surgical orthopedic injuries, which often improved with a good rehabilitation program. PM&R focuses on several non-surgical options while treating the entire person, not just one body part.
What do you love most about your job?
Probably learning about the interesting things my patients have done in life. I have seen patients who have played professional tennis to those who taught Vivien Leigh how to talk with a southern drawl. One patient of mine was a bomber pilot in WWII. Truly amazing people.
(Editorial Note: For the “younger” folks, Vivien Leigh was best known for her two Academy Award winning roles from classic movies as Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind” and Blanche DuBois in “Streetcar Named Desire”.)
What is your biggest challenge?
Explaining to patients that I’m not an orthopedic physician. People look at me like I must be from another planet. The specialty of PM&R is very small and not well-known but I chose it as I think it has a lot to offer patients.
If I weren’t an orthopedic physician I’d be a _____________.
Fishing boat captain or a bartender on a beach in St. Barths. Who knows, maybe combine the two when I retire?
Your proudest moment?
The times when I see my kids being kind to other people.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve travelled? Why?
While I’ve been to different countries, I would have to say Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympics. I saw and met people from all over the world. It was like circling the globe in two weeks without having to leave the U.S.
Any hobbies? Activities?
I love to fish. I would try to fish in any body of water if given the chance. It’s one of the reasons I moved to Florida.
What’s your next adventure?
I may explore Italy in the next year or two if I can get away.
Your guilty pleasure food?
Having lived in both Chicago and Philadelphia, I would have to say deep dish pizza and soft pretzels.
Paul Lento, MD is triple board certified and a Castle Connelly “Top Doc”. You may read his medical biography by visiting our website here. To make an appointment with Dr Lento, call 941-951-2663. Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has 13 physicians across 4 locations (Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton) and we offer same day appointments when needed. Our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.