TV spotlight shines on 'most beautiful' doctor
Jan 03, 2013 (The Peninsula Gateway (Gig Harbor - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Dr. Justin Piasecki already was uncommon in the world of medicine, and that was before he was crowned one of America's "most beautiful doctors."
"I'm the only doc on the planet who's certified in Mohs surgery" -- the removal of skin cancer cells -- "and board-certified in plastic surgery," said Piasecki, who operates the Harbor Plastic Surgery Center, a private practice located in a suite on the campus of Gig Harbor's St. Anthony Hospital.
Piasecki started the outpatient clinic with his wife, Jill, in 2009 as a way to apply his uncommon combination of certifications to a practice. Most skin cancer treatments are handled first by a dermatologist and then by a plastic surgeon, he said.
"We usually wind up trading one problem for another," Piasecki said. "This disjointed process is not ideal."
Piasecki described the process of removing cancer cells and creating reconstructive problems for another doctor to fix. He said Harbor Plastic Surgery Center is a one-stop shop for cancer removal and surgical reconstruction, with an emphasis on cosmetics as well as treatment.
"For me, this is really what plastic surgery is meant to be," Piasecki said.
Patients from every continent have come to Gig Harbor to be treated at Piasecki's practice, he said. But now, the husband and father of three is about to be known by a much wider audience: The viewers of the syndicated daytime television show "The Doctors."
The show, which airs at 2 p.m. weekdays on KOMO-TV, reached out to Piasecki and 11 of his peers nationwide for an upcoming episode, and a 2013 calendar that will profile America's most attractive doctors. The episode will be broadcast Jan. 8, and Piasecki will appear in the calendar (fully clothed, he emphasized) in March.
Piasecki said he isn't sure how the producers found him, although he said they also contacted his twin brother, an orthopedic surgeon in Charlotte, N.C., who was unable to participate. Piasecki said it's possible one of his patients could have nominated him for the unusual honor.
"It's an incredibly cheesy concept," Piasecki said. "When they first contacted us, I thought, 'This is some sort of scam.' "
He was soothed, however, by the concept of the episode, which will feature each of the selected doctors who will provide a message for viewers for the new year, as well as a brief look at their practice. Piasecki's message -- to make sure to unplug from technology and spend time with family -- comes from a personal place.
Last year, he fell out of a high window in the barn on a property near Kopachuck State Park, where his family lives and tends a farm. "I'm probably the only plastic surgeon with goats, llamas and chickens," he said.
He hit his head on concrete, but he survived and had only minimal injuries.
"I should have been killed," Piasecki said. "It really made me think about what's important."
Since then, Piasecki, his wife and three daughters spend each weekend hanging out and sleeping in that barn, separated from technology (other than Piasecki's phone, which he needs in case patients call) and distractions from each other. Piasecki described his experience to the producers of "The Doctors" as part of his advice to viewers.
He said his interactions with the show's crew were positive, assuaging some of his worries about opening up his clinic to a daytime TV program.
"I was nervous about being used," Piasecki said. "But it seemed very important to them to preserve and reflect the professionalism of the practice."
Piasecki had never seen "The Doctors" before, since he works during the day when it airs, and his practice will be operating next week when his episode is first broadcast. Some of the clinic's staff members plan to record the show and gather at the end of the day to watch their boss on TV.
"I think it's going to be great," said Teresa Witkowski, who works on the administrative end at the practice. "And it will really get more exposure and education out there for us."
Piasecki also will appear on a later episode in a segment that addresses skin cancer treatment. It will air sometime in January. He said he's excited for a chance to discuss his work, and the benefits of taking time to relax with your family, with the show's audience.
"In medicine, like most people, we rarely get the chance to interact with Hollywood, and it was really cool," Piasecki said. "But it's also a great way to get out the message to stop and smell the roses."
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