NB region doctor hangs up stethoscope | New
NEW BETHLEEM – After delivering some 1,500 babies and caring for thousands of area patients for nearly four decades, a local doctor decided it was time to hang up the stethoscope.
Dr Barry Snyder retired on October 28 after a 38-year career in his affiliate office at Brookville / Penn Highlands Hospital along Highway 28/66 in Fairmount City.
Snyder and his wife, Connie, a registered nurse, both graduated from Redbank Valley High School in 1972. After graduating, Snyder attended Thiel College where he earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry.
After graduating from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1980, Snyder completed his family medicine residency at St. Vincent Hospital in Erie. The couple returned to New Bethlehem in 1983, where Snyder has practiced medicine ever since.
âIt was always a matter of coming back and practicing in your hometown,â Snyder said of the prospects of returning to New Bethlehem, noting that Connie was always more interested in returning home than he was. “She really insisted on coming back here, and it went well.”
Snyder said much of the transition was made easier by his early connection with Dr David Miller, another longtime doctor. He said that while the two never had a joint practice, his office was in Miller’s suite and they shared a waiting room.
âWe were downtown where the magistrate’s office is now,â Snyder said of his first six years in New Bethlehem. âWe moved to Miller Medical Center just before [Dr. Miller] retirement.”
Snyder said that while he enjoyed his career immensely throughout his life, being a doctor was not an early career choice.
âIt wasn’t like I wanted to be a doctor forever,â he said. âI was interested in science in general, so I majored in chemistry, not pre-med or whatever. “
Despite his interest in the subject, Snyder said he doesn’t see himself doing science in the lab. It was actually his future wife, Connie, and his career as a critical care nurse that showed him that medicine was a way to take a more personal approach to his love of science.
âTo be a doctor and be able to provide good care, you first have to be a scientist,â he said. “There’s an art in medicine and doing the best for people and things, but you’ve got to be a scientist first.”
Snyder said he and Connie not only shared 47 years of marriage, but also a nearly 29-year business relationship.
âShe was the office manager, which is certainly different from the intensive care she did before,â he said. “She was basically running the office and doing a lot of business things, so I could focus on and take care of the patients.”
Reflecting on their working relationship, Snyder said it worked very well.
Connie, who retired from her role in 2012, agreed.
âPeople were asking how we work with each other,â she said. “We appreciated.”
She noted that one of the factors that contributed to their long working relationship was the very distinct roles they each played.
âA doctor and a nurse have very concrete roles,â she says. âI’ve worked long enough in hospitals to know that if I don’t follow orders, things go wrong.
The couple also attribute their success to their longtime staff.
âWe were fortunate to have a really great staff. They have been incredibly dedicated, âSnyder said, noting that the core staff have been there for 25 years or more.
The couple pointed out that Stacey Dinger and Barb Hibell started on the day the firm opened. Pat Evans joined us a few years later, and LeeAnn Price has been there for almost 25 years.
âThere have been other in and out, but it’s amazing to have that kind of consistency,â Snyder said. âIt was helpful. “
The other core staff were nurse practitioners such as Lana Smith who started around 1995, a year before one of the most memorable events of her career – the 1996 Flood.
“The place was practically wiped out,” he said. âWe brought small trailers and dragged them to the parking lot for about three months while they put everything back in place. “
He said he occupied one trailer while Smith occupied another.
According to Snyder, the office was essentially scattered in several locations during the rebuilding process. Some essential patients were first seen at Snyder’s home, while later others were seen in a few rooms of Dr Karls’ office.
Snyder pointed out that they were really lucky during the post-flood reconstruction to become employees of Highmark for a while.
âWe happened to be negotiating with Highmark to buy our practice whenever the flooding occurred,â he said. âWe were with them for nine or ten years and returned to private practice. “
Looking to the future, Snyder said his number one priority would be to “feed” his grandchildren.
âWe are really lucky to have eight grandchildren and they are all within an hour’s drive of us,â he said. “A lot of people our age don’t have that because kids are everywhere.”
Snyder said that since his retirement he had already taken a spontaneous trip to the North Hills to see three of the grandchildren perform in a piano recital.
“With the time constraints of medicine, especially when I was giving birth and was on call most of the time, I couldn’t be there all the time for my own growing children,” he said. -he declares. “I tried, but I want to do more for the grandchildren.”
He also mentioned a possible train trip west and said he hopes to take a bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC.
“We made parts of it [so] it’s kind of the short-term to-do list, âhe said. âIt’s also time to get some good sleep. “
Overall, Snyder says he would rate the last 37 years of his career as good.
âCome to think of it, I think this is where God intended me to be,â he said. âThat’s what’s good about medicine, you feel like you can serve. As part of my Christian calling, this is where I needed to be.
He said he feels like many patients have become family over the years.
âWe’ve been through a lot with a lot of patients,â Snyder said. “It’s kind of the right thing to do when you think about it.”