You can only have a professional 25th anniversary once. If you happen to be gastroenterologist Dr. Daniel Cummings, you celebrate that achievement, of course, at work.
His usual regimen is up at 5 a.m., run up to 12 miles, shower, breakfast, groom, review recent studies and head off to the office. That is unless the water line breaks somewhere on the ranch during the night. There’s no irrigation plumber to call in the pre-dawn hours. Happy anniversary.
Trudging through dark thistle fields with boots, gloves and a pipe wrench, the 60-year-old physician methodically traced the water lines of his 31-acre ranch. No stranger to diagnostics, he located the stricken pipe and quickly rerouted remaining water to the house. The real plumbers would come later.
Office manager and wife Annamarie Cummings applauds the feat. “He treats everything and everyone with intelligence and respect,” she said. “Even water pipes.”
Not unlike complex piping arrangements, gastroenterology is the study of the alimentary canal and its disorders. In common vernacular, it’s the path that food takes on its journey through your body. From acid reflux to ulcers, from gall stones to colon cancer (or its warnings), Dr. Cummings brings formidable diagnostic expertise. His 25 years of practice doesn’t include the 12 years of education, internship and residency. That unique skill set means much to the troubled patient who may possess little or no understanding of a possible developing condition.
“But, what underlies the medical knowledge,” according to Annamarie, a former biomedical engineer, “is a heartfelt concern for the patient. The doctor invests himself in the whole person, although he doesn’t try to replace the primary care physician.”
The number one preventative issue by far is colon cancer screening. Colonoscopies are too important to relegate to some future date. “Know your doctor as well as he (she) knows you. Trust the regimen and stay compliant,” posits one medical blogger. “The key to the colonoscopy experience is trust in the doctor.”
If a cancer threat is perceived, certainly it may be time to go to an oncologist. Or not. Dr. Cummings strives to understand the patient well enough to recommend a custom course of therapies. Annamarie explained, “Why burden the system with automatic surgeries if a more finessed line of action bears equal or greater promise?”
So the doctor remains daily at his post from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or whenever the sun sets. He rarely arrives back to his Shingle Springs ranch before 9 p.m.
He has some help. Beside Annamarie, there is the office assistant, Brandi Morales, who seems to continuously exude joy and good interpersonal skills. “I just love the patients,” she said. “Each one is unique and so special.”
Dr. Daniel Cummings graduated Stanford University with an undergraduate degree, attended UC San Diego for his MD, interned and performed residency at UC San Diego Medical Center, and did his fellowship hospital work at the UC Irvine Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.
Dr. Cummings’ office is located at 4300 Golden Center Drive, Suite F in Placerville (across from Wal-Mart.) He can be reached at 530-344-2060.