New Hampshire's 2013 Top Doctors Readers' Poll
Your Top Doctor picks and Health Care Heroes
Each year, along with our Top Doctors Peer Poll, we invite our readers to weigh in on who they think is tops in a few select categories. Here you'll find the results to the 2013 poll. We also ask readers to share stories about doctors who have gone well above and beyond the call of duty to help them or loved ones.
This year, by far, saw the most "Health Care Heroes" submissions. We read through hundreds of stories about how New Hampshire physicians from all over the state have repeatedly offered comfort, exceptional care and sound advice time and time again. It’s a great credit to the quality of health care in our state that it was such a difficult task to narrow them down. Below are the stories that ran in the April issue plus a few extra we couldn't fit in print.
Read more about New Hampshire's Top Doctors
Readers' Poll Results
Michael Pangan, M.D.
Exeter Health Family Practice
21 Hampton Rd., Exeter
Other Leading Physicians
Robert Zinnes, M.D.
SNHMC, Primary Care of Hudson
300 Derry Rd., Hudson
James Fitzgerald, M.D.
Elliot Family Medicine at Bedford Commons
25 South River Rd., Bedford
Christopher Riccio, M.D., F.A.A.P.
SNHMC,Medicine Pediatrics of Nashua
17 Prospect St., Nashua
Everett Lamm, M.D.
Exeter Hospital, Core Pediatrics
9 Buzzell Ave., Exeter
Other Leading Physicians
Linda A. Williams, M.D., F.A.A.P.
SNHMC, Foundation Pediatrics
19 Tyler St., Suite 104, Nashua
Steven P. Loh, M.D.
Core Pediatrics Exeter
9 Buzell Ave., Exeter
Alyse Kanter, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
10 Prospect St., Suite 402
Nashua, (603) 577-3131
Other Leading Physicians
Denise McHugh, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
10 Prospect St., Nashua
Karin Witt, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
Greater Nashua OB/GYN
10 Prospect St., Nashua
Wayne Goldner, M.D.
Manchester Obstetrical Associates
150 Tarrytown Rd., Manchester
Holly Ruocco, D.C.
Chiropractic First, PLLC
Center for Family Health & Wellness
202 Main St., Salem
Other Leading Providers
Kristin O’Dell, N.D., P.A.C.
Bedford Natural Medicine
82 Palomino Lane
Margarita Ochoa-Maya, M.D., C.D.E.
Advanced Health & Wellbeing, PC
196 Bridge Street Suite 103
Julia Greenspan, N.D.
Greenhouse Naturopathic Medicine
18 Ash St., Hollis
Health Care Heroes
Doctors Who Go Above and Beyond
Are there doctors who have gone “above and beyond” in their practice of medicine who deserve recognition? We asked our readers that question and, judging from their response, the answer is an emphatic “yes.” We received a ton of stories about doctors who provided uncommon care, going well beyond the expected. All of the stories couldn't be listed in the issue; we chose three from grateful patients and family members: Dr. Anthony DiScipio, cardiothoracic surgeon at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; Dr. Steven Loh of Exeter Pediatrics; and Concord Family Medicine physician Dr. Amy Martel. Following the three doctors who appeared in the April issue are many extra stories we couldn't fit in print.
"In nominating Dr. Anthony DiScipio as having 'gone above and beyond' his call of duty, I’m certain he would receive that as unwarranted praise. To routinely and literally hold the hearts and lives of others in your hands, there must be humility of purpose joined with that devotion, and he demonstrated this repeatedly during the surgical and post-operative care he provided to my late wife, Judy, throughout her prolonged illness. Yes, his mastery of the skills required to perform heart surgery was a given; his knowledge and application of his craft were both total and unwavering. But, out beyond the textbook and technical savvy, he possessed an uncommon ability to reassure at a time of great angst and uncertainty, a calm deliberation that instilled hope when hopelessness persisted, and a 'bedside manner' that never relinquished healing hands, even when curing remained elusive. He not only helped prolong Judy’s life, but worked tirelessly to insure that her life’s quality remained as optimal and rich as possible.
Thank you, 'Dr. Tony,' for your ever-present good humor, soulful simpatico, expert attendance, genuine resolution and vigilant channeling of life’s forward motion. You partnered with Judy, and she thrived in that partnership. Thank you, 'above and beyond' any measure of gratitude that my mere words can offer, for your committed stewardship through our journey together." – B. Elwin Sherman
"Dr. Amy Martel is amazing and always goes above and beyond her call of duty. She still will make personal visits to her geriatric patients even though her colleagues are able to assist. Last year when I fell and shattered my ankle, she called me at home to check on me as soon as she saw the paperwork come across her desk. Not only did she want to know how I was doing, she also offered to stop by and bring me puzzles, magazines and visit if I needed her to. This was my brightest spot during my injury. It meant so much to me to know my doctor truly cared about my personal well being. Before my daughter left for Florida, she managed to squeeze her into her hectic schedule and see her on short notice for a physical, along with some other medical issues she was having at the time. Dr. Martel gives her heart and soul to her patients. I can't say enough about her. She is truly amazing and an asset to the medical community."
“Dr. Steven Loh has been all three of my children’s doctor from the day they were born. I couldn’t have asked for a better doctor for them (or for me). He diagnosed my youngest with a displaced hip the day she was born, saw her through the experience of surgery, casting, physical therapy through the past 17 years, as well as always showing his concern for how I was coping with it all. He also treated my 19-year-old boy with such compassion and respect during his difficult teenage years, as well as being a constant support for both of them through the loss of their father this past year. My 22-year-old daughter has had the difficult task of leaving Exeter Pediatrics to find a new doctor now that she is an adult. I have to say that tears have been shed at the mere thought of this. Dr. Loh has been a rock for her throughout her trying preteen and teenage years, helping with her anxiety and depression issues. So, thank you, Dr. Loh, you are truly a blessing and the best there is.”
"Dr. Michael Tovell was my OBGYN when I was pregnant with my twins in 2008. One Sunday I wasn't feeling well so I went into LRGH. Once they checked the babies the physician there didn't like my test results and I swear within 15 minutes Dr. Tovell was there in complete cross-country skiing gear. They had paged him out on the trails and he came right in to check me and ended up admitting me. After a week there, the determination was made I had to go to Dartmouth-Hitchcock to have the twins. I was very upset about not being able to deliver at LRGH with Dr. Tovell. That weekend, Dr. Tovell came up to LRGH to check on me and make sure I felt comfortable with everything there. Dr. Tovell completely went above and beyond for me – being pregnant with twins and running into complications was very scary. He really helped put my mind at ease which I will forever be indebted to him for."
"At every single visit over the past 26 years, Dr. Francis Hayes is always present; I never feel like his mind has gone ahead to his next appointment. He has always made a point to listen to what I mean, not just what I'm able to articulate. He answers questions in language that I understand, without making me feel like a numbskull, even when I'm being one. After a recent cancer diagnosis by a specialist referral, Dr. Hayes called me at home, after hours, just to offer encouragement and spent time deciphering some of the confusing information I had received from the other doctor that I was too in shock to ask about at the time of the appointment. With eight teenage girls loudly carrying-on in the background (think: '100 monkeys in a bathroom' kind of noise) Dr. Hayes never seemed to even notice and treated me with the same care, compassion and straight-forward manner as if I was in his office. It literally makes me cry realizing that he is retiring and I'll be forced to choose someone else. I am utterly convinced that there just isn't anyone else out there like him. I have been so very, very blessed."
"A family member who was recently hospitalized on 3S at St. Joseph Hospital with a terminal illness. I would like to thank the LNAs, nurses and particularly Dr. Don McDonah for their compassionate care they afford to every single patient and family. I am so proud to be part of this hospital."
"Dr. Carl Ciak is the most compassionate provider. He cares for my 82-year-old mother who has alzheimers and lives with me, as well as caring for myself and my husband. Dr. Ciak is always available to offer advise and support when dealing with many difficult situations regarding the care of a loved one with alzheimer's who lives with you permanently. He has a wealth of knowledge and is the kindest and most patient provider I have ever dealt with. When you're talking with him you feel like you are the most important person in his life and you know you have his undivided attention. I can not say enough in support of Dr. Ciak and all he does for his patients and the Concord community. He is one in a million in my book. He truly deserves to be nominated as the best provider in NH."
"Dr. Denise McHugh is the best OB around – she cares deeply for her patients and for their unborn children. Not only does she go beyond the call of duty, but she does it in a way that makes you feel like you're her only patient. She treats you as if you are part of her family or one of her friends. My pregnancy in the beginning was rocky but she was there with me every step of the way. If I was nervous, she found a way to convince me that it was going to be alright. She never let things go, she always knew what I needed and when I needed it. She well exceeds the expectations that an expect mother has on her OB, especially with a first child. She not only knows you, but she knows your unborn child (BY NAME!). Not many doctors are willing to put in the amount of work and dedication as Dr. McHugh. I will continue to see her well after this pregnancy and for the ones that follow."
"Dr. Joshi was both my husband's and my PCP. My husband passed away while we were on a family vacation and Dr. Joshi was there for me and my boys from the moment I got home until today. He set aside extra time for my family that first year whenever we were scheduled to come in. He listened to every word I said both medically and mentally and was always there with the best advice. He is one of the instrumental people who got me through my devastating loss. He did much more than I can say, I know what he did was out of the goodness of his heart and his desire to be there every step of the way for myself and my boys."
"I was recently diagnosed with a very serious illness. Dr. Paul Clark called me numerous times, often in the evening, to help me through the process and guided me to effective specialists. Throughout the process, he retained his calm and wonderful sense of humor. He is truly a credit to the medical profession."
"Dr. Prescott is always just a phone call away! She will take your calls day or night, will give you her personal cell phone number and will walk you through any complications you have with your child. One night when my son was only one month old, he started having trouble settling down and would not breast feed at all. Something didn't seem right about him. I was hesitating on calling her, but then I remembered she said call day or night. I did and it was the best thing I could have done. She spent two hours on the phone with me making sure everything was alright, to tell me everything was going to be fine and to calm me down as well. Even after getting off the phone with me at 2 a.m. she proceded to call me at 6:30 a.m. to check in and then saw me later that afternoon. She is amazing!"
"I needed to lose weight. A lot of weight. I had tried many things through my lifetime and had been told by other doctors that surgery would be the only answer. Dr. Vella's approach was much different than anyone else's. He got to know 'me' and became my own personal 'cheerleader.' Knowing that when I saw him and lost even an ounce, the smile and true happiness shined through. With his personal approach I have lost 70 pounds and look forward to every visit with him just to see his 'proud of me' face. His level of compassion is amazing and I am so very thankful to him for walking beside me through this long journey."
"Dr. Degnan requested a stress test for my husband even though a Florida cardiologist had just given him a clean bill of health. The results were so dire that he was not allowed out of the hospital and quadruple by-pass surgery ensued – Dr. Degnan saved his life. One never feels rushed in an appointment with Dr. Degnan and he always tries to suggest a natural solution before prescribing heavy duty drugs."
"Dr. Vitiello has gone the extra mile many times for my husband and I. She is truly dedicated to helping us achieve our dreams of becoming parents. She spent countless hours helping us fight our insurance company so that we were able to do IVF. She has also taken time to talk to me and meet me personally even after my treatments were finished. We highly recommend her to everyone we know in similar circumstances."
"Dr. Vitiello and her team made having a family possible for my husband and I who now have a beautiful baby boy. I would recommend any patient having an issue with getting pregnant! This team knows what they are doing and I plan on visiting them again if I have issues trying for second child. Thank you!"
"Dr. Patel is not only a great surgeon but it is what she does for her patients above and beyond the surgical procedure for breast cancer. She stays committed to her patients and stays in their lives by developing programs to change their lifestyles for the better, which includes eating better and exercising. Her patients have formed a Relay For Life team dedicated to her by naming their team Dr. Patel's Pink Warriors. The team members dedicate themselves to help fight the battle against cancer bu fund raising in her name."
"I have no doubt that Dr. Alyse Kanter saved my daughter's life. When Melody started to hemorrhage at twenty-two weeks into her pregnancy with triplets, Dr. Kanter made swift and well-considered decisions that not only saved Melody's life, but insured that her uterus was not damaged so that she would be able to conceive and carry more babies in the future. Throughout the entire ordeal, Dr. Kanter remained entirely attuned to Melody. Dr. Kanter was attentive, honest and kind to us all, but she was completely connected to Melody. There was a trust and a bond between the two of them that was so strong and so obvious, that the entire family was confident that Melody was in the best hands possible. We are so grateful to Dr. Kanter and are delighted that she is once more guiding our Melody through her second pregnancy."
"Dr. Kanter Is always available for her patients. When I was having surgery by a doctor of another specialty, Dr. Kanter arranged her schedule so that she could be present during my surgery. She also checked on me frequently in the hospital and at home even though I was not under her care. That is truly going above and beyond the call of duty."
"Dr. Kanter is one of the most knowledgeable and caring physicians in New Hampshire. She employs a well-educated staff with cutting edge technology for folks who like to stay local for their care. Dr. Kanter and her staff are always on time, and in turn will spend as much time as a patient needs during their visit. I am so happy to have this kind of quality care in Southern New Hampshire."