On the wall inside the offices of the Gastroenterology Institute hangs a picture taken on July 1, 2010 of Dr. Hathaway and Tina, wife and practice manager, with hardhats on and shovels in hand, breaking ground on their dream, a gastroenterology practice for residents of Statesboro, at that time a community underserved by the specialty.
After nine years of practicing in Savannah at the Center for Digestive and Liver Health, a large practice with six partners, Dr. Hathaway and his wife shared the dream of starting their own practice in Statesboro. “We came to start a practice that is ‘old school,’ where the patient is first,” he said.
Concentrating on the patient’s view was a natural perspective for Dr. Hathaway, having been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in the ninth grade. After having his colon removed while in college, his personal experience “drove me into the field,” he shared.
A cum laude graduate of Hiram College in Ohio, Dr. Hathaway entered the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, graduating in 1995, going on to complete his residency in Internal Medicine in 1998, and a fellowship in Gastroenterology in 2001, at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
In 2001, Dr. Hathaway began practicing in Savannah and began his tenure as Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at Mercer University Medical Center, a position he continues to hold. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, a Diplomat in Gastroenterology.
“We have given careful consideration to how we treat our patients,” Dr. Hathaway stated. “We established our practice from a nursing perspective where we put great emphasis on the patient’s overall experience,” he said. “We make it so appointments are easy. If you need an appointment now, you can make it on-line at our website. We have an ease of flow, we limit paperwork, and we try to be very accommodating.”
The practice slogan is “great people deserve great care,” and at the Gastroenterology Institute “there are no VIP patients, everyone is important,” he related. Dr. Hathaway’s commitment to improving the patient’s experience and level of care has been demonstrated by the advances in treatment he has brought to the area.
“We have been able to bring ERCP, diagnostics and treatment for the bile duct system and the pancreas that were not done here before,” he stated. “We were able to bring pH monitoring and radio frequency ablation. We really want to deliver the highest quality of compassionate care.”
Another of the advancements in diagnostics for our area is Capsule Endoscopy. Patients swallow a capsule size camera that sends images to a recorder worn outside the body as it travels through the digestive track. An advanced diagnostic tool reminiscent of the science fiction movie, “Fantastic Voyage.”
“We do lots of different procedures at East Georgia in the Endoscopy suite,” Dr. Hathaway said, “The GI track is just fascinating. Every day there is something different to explore.” Dr. Hathaway also appreciates the support he gets from the administration and staff of EGRMC. “They are very supportive of my practice and of investing in the latest in diagnostic and treatment tools.”
“Our practice is committed to the area,” he continued, “we are excited about the potential for growth and are working on exciting things.” Down the road, Dr. Hathaway hopes to get a little more into the area of nutrition and weight loss. “I think this is one way to have a big impact on patients with other problems including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.” he said.
New things on the horizon also include advanced treatment for hepatitis C. “The FDA has approved the first combination pill, Harvoni, to treat the disease,” stated Dr. Hathaway. “In trials Harvoni was so effective that it cured hepatitis C after three months of treatment in over 90% of patients who took it. The sample treatments have shown no side effects. This development has been very exciting this past year.”
Dr. Hathaway continued, “There’s a lot going on in healthcare and at the end of the day I’m very, very happy, blessed, and fortunate to have been given the opportunity to build a practice with my wife in Statesboro. That’s where I get my personal satisfaction.”