Dr. Timothy LeeBurton
Dr. Timothy LeeBurton, a BJC Medical Group of Illinois orthopedic and hand surgeon, explains why he got into medicine and hand surgery.
Meet Dr. Timothy LeeBurton of Orthopedics and Hand Surgery.
What got you into the field of medicine?
After high school, I joined the Navy. I was active duty, and I had no interest in the medical field. But once I took the ASVAB exam and the recruiter went over the different options I had, I got down the list to corpsman, and I asked him what that entailed. He told me it was similar to Hawkeye from M*A*S*H. I love that show, so I signed up to be a corpsman. I spent five years in active duty, and when I got out of the military, I started going to undergrad. Then luckily enough, my grades were acceptable enough that I just kept pursuing the medical field.
Why did you choose to specialize in orthopedics and hand surgery?
Orthopedics was always something that I had an interest in with being athletic. Orthopedics was an easy call for me once I saw that I had a joy for it and the surgeries. After I got into Ortho, I realized that I wanted to hone in on the upper extremity. While at Mayo Clinic the last years of my residency, I did a lot of rotations with shoulder and elbow. To try and consider myself a complete upper extremity surgeon, I needed to do a hand fellowship, and so that's what I did.
What do you want patients to know about you?
I think that people or patients live with discomfort too long. Many times they're afraid to go to the physician because they're afraid they're going to be told something drastic has to change, or they're going to have to have surgery. I try to treat patients as if they're somebody in my family. So if it's a male who's close to my age, I treat him like he's my brother. If it's a female who is the age of my mother, I try to treat her like my mother. I don't throw surgery out as something easily recommended. I treat them like they're somebody in my family, and I try to give them those options. Understanding they have a life; they have a job; they have activities, and they want to get back to those things just like I would.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like golfing. I think that's my hobby, my passion. It gives me something else to do and to work on because it's always a work in progress. Ask Tiger Woods. It's something that is an individual sport. You're not playing against another person, even though you can set it up like that to play against someone else, but you're really playing against yourself and the golf course, and that's a challenge that I like to have. I'm married. I have four kids. I have a son and three daughters. My son loves golfing. My daughters are big into cheerleading. We spend a lot of time together. We're a strong family.