Even as a kid growing up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Chris Woodward was drawn to a career in medicine. He admired the sweet bedside manner of his father, Gary Woodward, MD, and never forgot how his father treated and comforted patients of his ENT practice in rural northeast Arkansas. There was a time when the elder Dr. Woodward encouraged his son to choose a different career that would be less rigorous, but the younger Woodward was undeterred from his calling.
“I always wanted to be a pediatrician,” he said. Today, Chris Woodward, DO, practices pediatric emergency medicine at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, Baton Rouge’s only 24/7 pediatric ER, which was recently renovated and expanded.
Dr. Woodward treats all manner of illness and injuries on a daily basis, from trauma to bumps and bruises. But regardless of the severity, he approaches them all as emergencies.
“It’s always an emergency to a parent or a child,” he said. “We have some very ill children who arrive, but we also see a lot of lower-level pediatric cases because we are very easy access to care, and at night or in the evenings we’re the only people open a lot of times.”
Dr. Woodward is one of a small number of Louisiana physicians who specialize in osteopathic medicine, something most Louisiana patients are unfamiliar with. In fact, Dr. Woodward is only the 167th osteopath ever licensed in Louisiana.
Doctors of osteopathic medicine attend the same medical schools, receive the same training and choose the same specialties as medical doctors. What distinguishes them is their holistic approach to treatment. As a DO, Dr. Woodward anticipates and discusses with parents the long-term health of young patients.
“We always discuss good eating habits, and I always take the opportunity to talk about things like wearing bicycle helmets and being safe from injury,” he said. “I think preventive health is important.”
Dr. Woodward also believes the best care includes comfort. For example, children in the ER receive pain medicine and sedatives via painless nasal spray. And when a young patient does need an IV, an additional bedside ultrasound machine provides a live picture inside the patient's arm so the IV can be started more accurately and with less pain.
“I believe everyone deserves a high level of care— not just care, but perfection care,” Dr. Woodward said. “We’ll take you, whoever you are, no matter who you are. I love that about this place.”