A construction worker. A shoe salesman. And an orderly. At first glance, you might not think they would make good doctors. In fact, they didn’t. They made great doctors. Perhaps it’s the desire to build and repair, or the ability to relate to others and convince people to do what’s best. Or maybe to serve a person’s most basic needs. Whatever the case, all of these jobs proved to form a strong foundation for three young men to grow into skilled and compassionate doctors.
If you’re a patient of Dr. Travis Methvin’s at OCH General Surgery Associates or OCH Center for Breast Health & Imaging, you can bet that you won’t leave the clinic until you fully understand your prognosis. You can thank his grandmother for that.
“My grandmother who raised me was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer when I was a junior in high school. I saw her go through that, and I wasn’t really impressed with the doctors. As a fairly bright 17-year-old, I didn’t really understand what was going on with her because the doctor didn’t explain her prognosis, and I remember the way that made me feel,” said Dr. Methvin. “Now, my mantra is I don’t want to leave the room until the patient and anyone else in the room fully understands the situation,” he stated.
While studying medicine, Dr. Methvin wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. After all—with a background in construction work, orthopedic surgery seemed to be the right fit.
“Every summer during college, I worked in construction building houses and was really good with a drill and hammer. I also played a lot of sports, so I thought I would enjoy working with athletes,” explained Dr. Methvin.
But ultimately he decided to pursue a wider range of surgical care and became a general surgeon.
“The main thing I love about surgery is that we actually fix things. It’s like construction work. It’s not like diabetes or high blood pressure where you’re trying to maintain it or keep it under control. As a surgeon, you have a problem in front of you, and you attack it and fix it,” said Dr. Methvin.
As an internal medicine physician, Dr. Ramon Osorio must convince his patients to follow his plan of care just like he used to convince his customers to purchase shoes.
“I changed majors four times in college and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I went to work full time at Footlocker, and somewhere in the process I decided to give medicine a try,” explained Dr. Osorio.
A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Osorio left to study medicine at 23-years-old. He graduated from St. Matthews University School of Medicine in the Cayman Islands, where he and his wife, Yaraly Espinoza, married during their last year of medical school.
“During my first year of residency, we had our first son, Adrian. He is special needs, and so she does not practice medicine but has devoted all of her time to our family,” explained Dr. Osorio.
Dr. Osorio said it was the family-oriented, small-town feel that solidified his and his wife’s decision to settle in Starkville to raise their family. Even as a father of three, Dr. Osorio confesses one reason why he chose the field of internal medicine was because he didn’t want to routinely provide medical care for children.
“I wanted to do something that didn’t confine me, but kids and pregnant women make me nervous. And that’s what internal medicine is—taking care of everything but pediatrics and obstetrics. My kids get sick, and I have no clue what to do,” he says with a laugh.
That’s one reason Dr. Osorio’s patients at OCH Medical Associates love him so much. His sincerity, down-to-earth nature and good sense of humor allows him to form close bonds with patients from all walks of life. They readily trust him and follow his plan of care.
“This sounds like a cliché but being a doctor is so rewarding. Nothing scares people more than being sick or having a loved one who’s sick, and we are there to help make them better. It doesn’t always end well, but when it does, it’s a pretty awesome feeling,” he said.
Dr. Chester Lott understands what it takes to care for his patients—from transporting them for tests to administering baths and changing bed pans, he’s done it all. Dr. Lott started as an orderly at OCH in 1976, just three years after the hospital opened.
“I always knew I was interested in medicine. My dad was in the military, and I was around large military hospitals in Germany as a kid. We came to Starkville in 1963 because my dad was stationed at the ROTC,” said Dr. Lott. “When I was in college at State, I was majoring in microbiology, and a professor told me that if I was going to stick with this major that I should make sure I like taking care of people. I took a job as an orderly making $2 per hour, and when I passed the test to become an EMT, I got a 20 cent raise,” he said laughing.
Dr. Lott went to UMMC in Jackson on a public health scholarship, with the agreement that for each year he received the scholarship, he would work a payback year in primary care in an area in need during his residency. He chose Obstectrics/Gynecology and chose to settle down in Starkville and practice at Starkville Clinic for Women after completing his residency.
“I don’t think people in Starkville realize how unusual the hospital is with the diverse physician and surgeon staff we have compared to hospitals this size in towns this size. It’s a real asset to this community,” said Dr. Lott.
“The thing I enjoy most about OB/GYN is that it’s almost family medicine, but you also get the challenges of surgery. We help our patients have babies, and when they don’t want to have any more babies, we help them plan for that. We try to help make life better for people in those ways,” he explained, also mentioning the major strides medicine has taken since he started as an orderly nearly 40 years ago.
“In my lifetime, we’ve gone from having cervical cancer being the leading cause of cancer death of women to where it’s not even in the top ten anymore.”
Perhaps the advancements in medicine could have saved or at least prolonged Dr. Methvin’s grandmother’s life if she was battling the disease with today’s technology and medicine. She only lived 68 days after being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. However, her role in his leadership position as the director of OCH Center for Breast Health & Imaging is far greater than she could’ve imagined.
“It would’ve been nice for her to be there (to see me graduate). Something like that really affects a teenage boy. Her generation, they ignored health problems and didn’t get mammograms,” said Dr. Methvin, stressing that there’s a huge difference in stage one and stage four breast cancer.
“Stage one cancer is almost always treatable. That’s why I stress to my patients and the community to receive their annual checkups,” said Dr. Methvin. “My favorite thing about being a doctor is the look on my patients’ faces when they’re better, and there’s no more cancer and no more pain.”
For these three physicians, their roles as a construction worker, shoe salesman and orderly were just a starting point until they found their true calling in life. A calling that brings healing and comfort to so many people every day. On March 30, National Doctor’s Day, take time to thank your physician for the road he or she has traveled– and continues to navigate– to provide you with extraordinary care.