INTERVIEW WITH LINDY WATANASKUL, MD
What guided your decision to go into medicine and specifically, your chosen field?
I’ve always wanted to take care of other people growing up, and medicine just seemed like the perfect fit. I have been a patient and a family member of a patient. I realize how important having a smart AND empathetic doctor can be. It is scary being a patient and not knowing what is going on or what can happen. I want to be there for patients during difficult times and to help see them through their medical journey.
“I love the mission of Doctorpedia to provide a resource for people to access information that is backed by real people in the medical field. Doctorpedia is a place where physicians can come together to bring real information, that is evidence-backed and researched, to people.”
What makes you different from other doctors in your field?
I love that the field of anesthesiology is so unique. Of course anesthesiologists administer anesthesia, but it’s so much more than that. We have to assess and care for chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, thyroid issues, etc while you are asleep. Anesthesiologists also manage chronic pain and acute pain, work in ICUs, provide care to pregnant patients, and take care of very sick patients during cardiothoracic and transplant surgery. The list goes on and on. Every day is different with different challenges.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I love spending time with my family! Being in medicine has made me appreciate all the small and big moments and to not take anything for granted. I also love to paint, crochet, garden, and bake. After this year of COVID, I realized how much there is to do and see in this world. I’m trying to travel more and spend real, quality time with my friends and family. There is definitely not enough time in the day for all my interests.
You recently joined the Doctorpedia team as a Founding Medical Partner. What about Doctorpedia resonates with your personal and professional mission?
As a physician, evidence based research is so ingrained in our training. As a physician, I love learning and teaching and being in a field that is always promoting further education. Physicians are often surrounded by students, so there is always teaching and learning. It’s hard as a physician seeing incorrect information, especially when falsehoods are so easily perpetuated by the internet. I love the mission of Doctorpedia to provide a resource for people to access information that is backed by real people in the medical field. Doctorpedia is a place where physicians can come together to bring real information, that is evidence-backed and researched, to people.
What do you think about the health and wellness information and resources available online?
The way we find and seek information is so different now than when I was growing up and studying as a student. I remember having to look through encyclopedias! With information technology, people have such easier access to information than they ever have before. Unfortunately, the internet has also allowed so much misinformation to spread easily. Even as a physician with years of medical background, I am surprised by the flat out mistruths that can be found. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of “googling” medical diagnosis. I think the important thing to remember is that your physician and health care providers have years of training behind them (that is evidence based) and to use the internet cautiously as a supplement to the information you are receiving.
“It is scary being a patient and not knowing what is going on or what can happen. I want to be there for patients during difficult times and to help see them through their medical journey.”
What were your previous roles in healthcare and what did you learn from them?
My role as a physician has definitely developed from the many jobs and positions I’ve had in healthcare prior to going to medical school. I volunteered at my local hospital during high school. That was a great opportunity to learn about the different aspects of a hospital that make it run, from janitorial, to nursing, to dining services. There are so many people that interact with patients and bring so much to the patient experience. I also worked as a nursing assistant at a convent for retired nuns throughout college! I gained so much appreciation for nurses who do so much behind the scenes to care for patients. Finally, during my last two years of medical school I lived in a senior living community as part of a pilot senior housing program where students and seniors were able to interact and learn from each other. It was so unique and like nothing I had done before!
Here is an article if you are interested!
There is so much that goes into taking care of human beings, especially end of life care, and it was an eye opening experience for me. I think the best part of all these experiences was just talking and listening to patients and really being able to learn about the human experience from them. As physicians we can get so ingrained in the workup and diagnosis, that we need to remember there is a story behind every patient.
Lindy Watanaskul, MD
Dr. Lindy Watanaskul is an Anesthesiology Specialist in Saint Cloud, MN and has over 10 years of experience in the medical field. Dr. Watanaskul is a Doctorpedia Founding Medical Partner and CMO of Doctorpedia's Anesthesiology Channel.