Top Doctors

Howard Rosenthal, M.D.

Orthopedic Oncologist, The University of Kansas Sarcoma Center

On his proudest achievements:
I am most proud of the long-term follow-up of a child, five to 10 years after their treatment, when they and their parents return for visits and express their thanks.
It is a true expression of “thank you” not with words or even a smile, but rather with a facial and body expression that comes directly from the heart. It is a mutual understanding that can only be understood by the person and their family undergoing the treatment.
   Examples would be the father who pleads, “Please just keep me alive long enough to see my kids graduate high school,” and then, years later, I receive a thank-you note with an invitation to his child’s wedding. To the young woman who reaches down to feel if her leg is still on (versus having been amputated) in the recovery room and I can see tears of joy in her eye. From the 9-year-old girl who wins a national dance recital with a reconstructed limb to the bone transplant recipient who leads the Rose Bowl parade. Other achievements that have made me proud include  my participation in the development of a tumor prosthesis system that can replace virtually every bone in the body.
photos: Paul Versluis


Karen Lewing, M.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Children's Mercy Hospital

Program Director for Pediatric/Hematology Fellowship

On why she became a doctor:
There were several factors that led to my career choice. My dad always told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be. My pediatrician growing up was a great role model, and led a group called Medical Explorers, where I learned about the profession. I loved my biology classes in college and I enjoy helping others.

On significant healthcare changes on the horizon
I look forward to the advances in personalized medicine, where treatments are more specific and based on genetic testing.

photo: 8183 Studio

James O'Keefe, M.D.

Cardiologist, St. Luke's Cardiovascular Consultants

On significant changes on the horizon:
The 21st century is evolving into the age of medical marvels and biotech breakthroughs. Already today you get a complete analysis of the billions of bits of DNA data encoded in your genome for $100. In the near future we will be re-engineering our health and vitality, and the potential benefits are mind-blowing. To be sure, the American health care delivery system needs a complete overhaul — and it’s going to be a little bumpy while those details get ironed out over the next decade. So save some money — these medical miracles won’t come cheap.

On why he decided to become a doctor:
I knew from the time I was 8 years old that I wanted to be a doctor. Medicine was the only career that I ever considered. A physician’s work is fascinating, engaging, and gratifying. To me, it’s the best job in the world. I would do this even if I didn’t get paid, but don’t tell Saint Luke’s. I have four kids to educate still!

On stress management:
I do yoga on a mat I roll out among the grass and trees in nice weather, or in front of a fireplace staring into the flames in the cold winter months.

photo: 8183 Studio

Melanie Martin, M.D.

OB/GYN, Obstetrics and Gynecology Johnson County

On her toughest career challenge:
Balancing family life with a highly unpredictable schedule of calls, deliveries, surgeries and emergencies is difficult, but my husband and children have been supportive and understanding.

On the accuracy of the way doctors are portrayed in TV drama series:
Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I was, however, once banished from the room by my children for being overly critical of an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Our days are not packed with nearly so much fun or drama as is routinely portrayed on these shows. However, I do think they often capture some of the intensity, emotion and hard work that go into becoming and remaining a practicing physician. I think it is important for people to understand that, for most doctors, it is not just a job. We take what we do very personally.

photo: Paul Versluis