Dr. Steven Rowlan said when he joined Paris Orthopedic Clinic in 1983, he had just finished his residency and wanted to keep working in a technologically superior environment.
“I wanted to go to a place” that had those kinds of amenities for his patients, he said.
He came to Lamar County because the Paris Orthopedic Clinic had that kind of environment.
This month the clinic celebrated its 50th anniversary. Founded in 1969 by Dr. Clarence Temple, Rowlan said the clinic was originally in a small trailer just outside what now is Paris Regional Medical Center. And, for the past 50 years, he said the clinic has been able to provide its patients with orthopedic care on par with just about any clinic in the U.S.
“Anything done throughout the U.S., we can do in Paris, Texas, with few exceptions,” he said. “We provide a full range of general orthopedic care.”
The clinic has seven providers: Drs. David J. De la Garza, Michael Elliott, Mark B. Gibbs, Gregory V. Green, Carmen Holmes, Rowlan and S. Drew Temple.
Dr. Rowlan said since his beginnings in orthopedics, things have shifted quite a bit for the what the patient can expect.
“When I came to Paris, it was not uncommon for someone to be in the hospital for 12 weeks in traction,” he said. “Now, most people are in an acute care hospital no more than three days.”
He said the switch has come from using surgery to get patients back on their feet, literally, much faster.
“There’s no one I know, in any income range, who can take off 12 weeks now,” he said.
He’s also very happy the clinic uses the latest in digital X-rays, allowing for easy transfer of images between doctors and the clinic and the hospital.
“We have access to all of their X-rays in Lamar County,” Dr. Rowlan said.
In his history of the clinic, the now-retired Dr. Temple writes he didn’t get partners until 1974, when Drs. Franks Wood and Michael Milek joined the clinic.
“The three orthopaedists having outgrown the initial clinic facility, moved into a new clinic building at 785 Lewis Lane,” Dr. Temple wrote.
Then Dr. Gary Forster joined, then Dr. Mark Nardone, who was from Pennsylvania, Dr. Temple said, and rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles.
“His strong backing of the Philadelphia Eagles led to some interesting non-medical discussions,” Dr. Temple wrote.
The Paris Clinic has had several doctors join over the years, and many of them have gone on to even more prestigious positions, such as Dr. Milek, who went on to lead the hand surgery program at Vandebilt outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
One particular doctor of note, Dr. Temple wrote, was Dr. Robert Schneider, who became the face of Paris Orthopedic Clinic in 1982 after the famous tornado hit Paris.
“His first year in practice was named by his being a primary provider in the superb response of our medical community to the disaster of the Paris tornado on April 2, 1982,” Dr. Temple wrote. “Dr. Schneider was part of the face of Paris medicine in his interviews on Dallas television channels. Dr. Schneider left POC on Dec. 31, 2009.”
After Dr. Schneider joined the clinic, a second office opened on the St. Joseph’s campus. By the time 1990 rolled around, both clinic offices were becoming crowded, leading to the doctors to build at the current location, 3435 NE Loop 286, by Harrison, Walker and Harper, which was finished in 1993.
“The new clinic allowed all the orthopaedists to office in one location exactly halfway between the two hospitals,” Dr. Temple wrote. “It also provided the presence of at least one orthopaedist in each hospital at any time during the day.”
In 2016, the clinic went through a name change, from Paris Orthopedic Clinic to Paris Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. The clinic now has its seven doctors and a large, dedicated and experienced support staff.
“The employees of Paris Orthopedic Clinic are the foundation of the smooth day-to-day functioning of the clinic,” Dr. Temple wrote. “The supportive care given by them to each patient is an important factor in their treatment. In addition to providing orthopedic care to a large part of northeast Texas and southeast Oklahoma for the past fifty years, physician members of the clinic have provided leadership in our hospitals and city.”