Excerpt from “The Native Physician”, Indian River Magazine, Fall 2015 Edition
BY GREG GARDNER | PHOTO BY GREG GARDNER
Dr. Leighan Howard-Talton has come full circle by returning to Stuart and working for the hospital where she and her parents were born — Martin Health System.
Her parents, Tracy and Francie Howard, were brought into the world by the legendary Dr. Julian Parker, who delivered almost all of the children born in Stuart for many years. According to Francie Howard, her daughter wanted to be a doctor since she was in elementary school.
As a general practitioner, Talton sees hundreds of patients — adults of all ages — each month, but her day really begins when she arrives home at 4:30 p.m. to take care of her twin toddlers Matt and Nat. And before she retires for the night, Talton will spend an hour responding to emails and taking care of other work from her office. Her only me-time is at 5:30 a.m., when she spends 30 minutes surfing Pinterest Internet sites before arriving to work at 7:15 a.m.
A true people person, Talton bubbles with enthusiasm as she talks about her work. “I like people,” she says confidently. “I don’t think you can do a good job if you don’t know and understand your patients. I ask them about themselves and that helps me remember them. I need to know who feeds you, who waters you, who walks you.”
Talton sees about 15 patients a day and the rest of her free time is spent returning phone calls, looking over test results and writing medication prescriptions, among other duties. “This job is so hard,” she says. “If they (patients) are telling you something, it is important to them. A lot of times you feel like you are the keeper of the information, kind of like an air traffic controller. There are only so many hours in the day and sometimes you get to the border of information overload.”