From family physician to laser practitioner
Samuel Gooldy has had quite the career in the medical field.
He went to nursing school in 1965 and graduated in 1968. He joined the Army and served in Vietnam for a year and a half. Gooldy continued with his medical career after returning home from Vietnam.
He went to medical school and graduated from the faculty of medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Then, he arrived in Utica in 1977 to start his residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. After graduating in 1980, Gooldy decided to stay and work in the Utica area.
Gooldy loves living in Mohawk Valley. He loves the seasonal weather changes this area provides year-round.
“We were here at the end of the residency and it was easy to stay here,” he said. “I like the weather. The cold weather doesn’t bother me very much. I love the change of seasons. I was born and raised in a high plateau dessert. The weather didn’t change very much, but here the fall is beautiful.”
He sees the valley as a stable area. There is less noise, construction and action.
“It’s stable here,” Gooldy said. “I have family that lives in Washington DC, and things are just so dynamic there. There’s a building that’s going up over here. There’s something being built over there. Things are changing every day. When you come back to Utica and New Hartford everything is pretty much the same. When things change, they change slowly. Sure a new business grows and an old business goes out of business, but it’s not overwhelming. You don’t lose track of what’s happening around you.”
These were the reasons why he stayed. Gooldy lived in the Mohawk Valley for years, but worked at several different medical practices throughout Utica and New Hartford.
“I started my medical practice here in Utica,” Gooldy said. “I went to residency at St. Elizabeth and I’ve been in practice at several different locations in and around New Hartford and Utica. I got to know a lot of people, a lot of different doctors and a lot of different practices. I worked with groups, I worked individually and now I’m in solo practice.”
The years moving around from office to office stopped for Gooldy once he opened his own practice at 1 Oxford Road in New Hartford in 2002. He and his family are still working there today.
He started as a family physician.
“I always wanted to be a family physician,” Gooldy explained. “I have considered other forms of specialty practice, but by the time I graduated from medical school, I realized I wanted to be a primary care physician. In today’s world, you can move onto a lot of different things from family physician. I didn’t have the desire to move onto anything except do what I do, which is take care of the individual patients and get to know my patients.”
As a family physician, he got to know more about his patients. He established good connections and friendships with them.
“One of the problems when you’re an oncologist or a plastic surgeon, is that patients become too much of a commodity,” Gooldy said. “You don’t get the chance to know them. I get to know my patients. I know them very well and many of them I’ve known for 30 years.”
Gooldy loved his job. But the pay was not enough to keep his practice open. He discovered the dark secrets about medical insurance companies. How they pay their physicians less.
“Insurance companies don’t see the value in prevention,” Gooldy said. “Their goal is to put as much money in their pocket as possible. I guarantee you that every insurance company has somebody they employ, who their job title and goal is to reduce the amount of money that they pay primary care physicians and they continue to reduce the amount of money they pay me for what I do every year.”
He needed to find another source of income. He did so by getting medical laser machines.
The family physician became a laser practitioner.
The laser machines Gooldy purchased were designed to reduce the size of scars on people’s skin. He also does Botox injections. These injections get rid of the wrinkles on peoples’ faces.
Patients have to pay out of pocket for these procedures. They cannot use their medical insurance to cover it. This benefits Gooldy, as he gets the full payment and does not have to deal with the insurance companies. The money patients spend on this procedure is worth it, the doctor said, as they get to look younger and more beautiful.
“It’s almost impossible for me to function without a cash business on hand,” Gooldy said. “That’s what the laser business is. I can make cash through the laser business and support my practice. It’s not reimbursed by insurance because it’s cosmetic. So you end up paying out of pocket. The whole process took us a year to do the research so we can operate the machines we bought. We’ve been in the laser business for 12 years. Our reduction laser business can reduce the size of scars, so it becomes almost invisible. We can remove a lot of wrinkles on your face with the Botox. If you’re 45 and you don’t like looking 45. You like to look 27. We can do that for people and keep them looking that way with the various things we offer. The Botox, fillers and lasers —all those things help.”
He offers laser treatments and Botox injections to those who want to look younger or eliminate the scars and wrinkles on their skin. Gooldy is also continuing to work as a family physician offering yearly checkups and health advice to his patients. His goal, when starting this practice, is to improve his patients’ health, not their looks. He wants his patients to live to 85 or 90. He does not want them to make multiple trips to the hospital.
The doctor is doing whatever he can to help them live long healthy lives.
“My goal, I tell my patients, is to get them to the age when everything collapses,” Gooldy said. “If you can get somebody to the age of 85 or 90 without a major catastrophe in their life, they’re much more likely to die at home in bed and it costs the medical system much less. But if you have a heart attack when you’re 40, you’re going to cost the medical system a lot of money. You’re going to have hospitalization, you’re going to see the cardiologist, somebody has got to manage your diabetes and cholesterols. You’re going to be paying a lot more for your health, but if I can get your cholesterols down and manage your diabetes so that you don’t have that heart attack or stroke, the chances of you dying in bed is pretty good. Nobody wants to die while their kids are in college. They want to die when they’re 85 or 90. You’ve got to prevent that heart attack and stroke and that’s my goal.”