Meet our Docs: Board-certified nephrologist Samuel Chakola, MD, joins Wyoming Nephrology in Casper
By Kristy Bleizeffer Sep 22, 2020
Wyoming Medical Center welcomes Samuel Chakola, MD, to Wyoming Nephrology in Casper. Dr. Chakola is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology, and he welcomes new patients.
“My philosophy is to treat patients and advise them as if they were my own family members,” he said.
Read more about Dr. Chakola’s background and training in the interview below.
Where did you grow up and when did you first become interested in medicine?
I was born in Bombay, India. My dad is a family physician, and his practice made a big impression on my young mind in deciding to choose medicine as a career.
One of the main things that struck me as a young boy was when anyone was sick at home, the relief that they felt when they met my dad. And that was not only for the sick person, but also for the loved ones. Part of the decision making process of becoming a physician was seeing how physicians could really help and serve someone.
Apart from that, my brother and I used to hang out in his practice a lot. He taught us that to be a physician is to serve first, and that if you’re going to be a physician, you'll always be a perpetual student. The third thing which he really impressed on our mind was health literacy, which equips patients to make well-informed decisions.
And how did choose nephrology as your specialty?
Well, I'm actually an internist by heart. During my residency, nephrology appealed to me because it was supposed to be very cerebral and challenging. During my fellowship in nephrology, one of the most satisfying aspects was journeying with a patient from the diagnosis of kidney failure to dialysis to ultimately transplantation. That satisfaction is immense.
A diagnosis of kidney failure could, and sometime does, actually shatter a patient. And, when you journey with the patient from being shattered to having that hope of a kidney transplant, and getting that transplant, it is very rewarding.
Tell us about your training.
I went to medical school at M.R. Medical College in India. I did my residency at a community hospital affiliated to Harvard Medical School in Boston, and then I trained at Temple University in Philadelphia. The training there was intense and gave me a wide variety of experience in nephrology cases.
Post that I did an additional year of transplantation at the University of Washington Seattle, where I had an opportunity of taking care of patients primarily with kidney transplants, but also with other organ transplants, such as heart, lung, livers and pancreas
As a nephrologist, we screen patients, and see if they're medically fit to get kidney transplants. We are involved in the immediate post transplant care in regulating the immunosuppression and supporting with dialysis if needed. Post transplant care in terms of immunosuppression and its complications are taken care primarily by us. In the U.S., primarily we do a lot of deceased donor transplants, and there is a lot of impetus on procuring organs and in encouraging people to donate organs. And even though with all those efforts, the waiting period can be long. It depends on the location where you are based. But, there is a lot of federal support in terms of increasing the number of organs available for patients, which is a good thing.
What in the field of nephrology has you excited?
We do have better drugs now for diabetes kidney disease. The things that really excited me from fellowship is the work on the implantable kidney through nanotechnology. There are also people working on something known as known as a “kidney on a chip,” where you could actually test various drugs on kidney cells in the lab, to see if there is any kidney damage.
Most of our patients develop kidney failure because of diabetes, and recently I've been exploring the advantages of medically monitored intermittent fasting, which could actually reverse diabetes. I feel it maybe is not for all patients, but it could offer a lot of advantages if done under medical supervision.
Tell me how you decided to come to Casper.
I was practicing in India and had taken a short break in Australia, just before the pandemic started. I got stuck over there during the lockdown for around 60 odd days, and I couldn't travel back to India. At the same time, I started looking for opportunities to work. Since I was trained in the United States, there were a couple of opportunities in the US. One of the best places that stood out in terms of the outdoors was Wyoming. I had been to Wyoming before, and it’s is beautiful.
What kinds of outdoor activities do you like to do?
My wife and I like the water, so we learning to fly fish now and we also do a lot of hiking. We are looking forward to explore skiing and snow shoeing.
What are your impressions so far of Wyoming Medical Center?
It’s a community hospital, but it has most of the infrastructure needed to offer high-value, patient-centered nephrology care.
What are your impressions so far of Casper?
It's amazing. I've been in Casper for about three months now, and I think the people of Casper are very friendly. It’s been a blessing to experience that friendship and hospitality that they have offered to me.