As a leading-edge cardiologist known worldwide for his clinical expertise, Dr. Thomas Shimshak has never lost sight of the importance of developing strong relationships with his patients.
Traveling between five different offices from Mequon to Racine, the medical director of Wheaton Franciscan Heart Care practices more like a primary care physician, says Dr. Loren Meyer, president and chief executive officer of Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group.
Shimshak has been known to make house calls to patients who have personal circumstances that make it difficult to get to a medical office to see him.
“Dr. Shimshak’s style is a dynamic melding of his unsurpassed professional skills along with his good-natured, caring and gentle approach,” says Leanna Beaumont, an advanced practice nurse. “I routinely notice a patient’s eyes light up in anticipation of an appointment with him. Following the visit, I often hear them say, ‘I just love Dr. Shimshak, I know he really cares about me.'”
The same demeanor carries over into Shimshak’s professional relationships. Beamount says Shimshak is never too busy to share his knowledge or answer questions, openly discussing thoughts and ideas and giving credit where it is due.
Shimshak stocks his office with snacks and beverages for his staff and colleagues, and has personally written Christmas cards, often including gifts, to staff and colleagues, as well.
“As a person with heart disease, having Dr. Shimshak has certainly been a blessing,” says Mary Jean Derus. “His knowledge, patience and determination to help me has certainly gone beyond what one could ever expect from their physician. With having a genetic factor, numerous interventions and countless tests and consultations, Dr. Shimhak has truly ‘touched my heart.'”
Shimshak says his approach to patient care has been shaped by his personality, the quality of the training that he received and the mentors he has had over the years.
“I have always tried to care for the entire patient, and not just their individual problem,” he says. “Even if they don’t have a scheduled appointment, I will keep in touch with them. If I am worried about them, I will have my nurse practitioner call to see how they are doing.”
Within his field, Shimshak has become a national leader on interventional cardiology and is known worldwide for his clinical expertise in coronary and peripheral vascular intervention. He serves as a national faculty member with the American College of Cardiology and several other organizations, including the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) Symposium.
Through his participation with TCT, Shimshak has assisted with several cases performed live via webcast, including one two years ago that showcased new procedures to more than 30 cardiology centers around the globe. Through Boston Scientific, he was selected as one of 50 cardiologists to tour Japanese clinics to teach intravascular ultrasound techniques.