Paul Yeaton, M.D., joined Carilion Clinic Gastroenterology in 2011. An international leader in advanced endoscopic techniques, Dr. Yeaton also joined the faculty of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. He brought a new expertise to the region using endoscopic ultrasound to diagnose pancreatic and liver diseases—as well as new options for non-surgical treatments of these illnesses. Recently, Dr. Yeaton discussed his medical background, his experience at Carilion Clinic, and his love of fiddling.
Q. Why did you choose to be a gastroenterologist?
I had a number of careers before choosing medicine, and I ended up spending a lot of time learning to play the fiddle from older people who were sick, and it looked like it was time for me to make a new choice. I felt like medicine was a good opportunity to impact people’s lives.
Q. How does your specialty help patients?
Most of my patients are inflicted with yellow jaundice or have conditions of the pancreas, including cancers. I do unique interventions that either make ultimate surgery easier, or they replace the need for surgery.
Q. What makes your practice unique in the region?
Probably the most unique service we offer now at Carilion would be endoscopic ultrasound. So much of what I do is a combination of endoscopes, which are devices that are passed into the intestine [to examine it, combined with a type] of radiology, in this case, ultrasound.
The scope that’s inserted actually has the ultrasound probe on it, and this allows me to examine organs and structures that are close to the intestine, but outside the intestine. From there, I can make biopsies, I can put drains, or any number of things to provide a non-invasive form of an intervention [rather than surgery].
Q. What do you enjoy about southwest Virginia?
The move to Carilion and the Roanoke area was an easy one for me because I love the region. We sit in the heart of old-time music and fiddling, and because I’m a fiddler myself, I was attracted just so I could be immersed in the culture and region.
Q. What else attracted you to Carilion?
Another attractive thing for me was the creation of the [Virginia Tech Carilion] medical school. Carilion Clinic has a strong foundation in patient care and this represented, for me, the opportunity to build on that foundation and to create an environment where we not only offer exceptional care for our patients, but also we create the new generation of doctors and physician educators.
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