Blair Tolar, MD

Culture of compassion enriches patient experience

Dr. Blair Tolar - Baptist Health Foundation Paducah Impact StoryAs an OB-GYN, Blair Tolar, MD, was having a normal day with back-to-back cases, including a c-section and an induction, when he started to feel a little bit of pain spread throughout his back and his belly. He pushed through thinking it might just be a bug, but after developing a fever and fearing a gallbladder attack, he admitted himself to the Emergency Department.

He had an aortic dissection, a tear in the heart’s main artery. It’s a rare and serious condition that requires immediate surgery. Dr. Austin Ward came to see him very quickly, and instead of treating Dr. Tolar like they were friends, he treated him like a patient.

“He didn’t treat me like I knew what was going on, and that was important, because I had no idea what was happening,” said Dr. Tolar.  “He gave me the good and the bad, he had a tough conversation with me about chances of survival and he told me what to expect. During my stay, I had the privilege of interacting with not one, but several physicians who all went above and beyond to ensure that my experience as a patient was unmatched. I will always be grateful to Dr. Ward, Dr. Shaukat Ali, Dr. Emily Johnston, Dr. Kyle Parish, Dr. Sanjay Bose, Dr. Nicholas Lopez and Dr. Nihanth Peta.”

Since undergoing surgery this spring, he has had a difficult road to healing, but he has had compassionate care and unwavering support along the way. It’s been 18 years since Dr. Tolar began his medical career at Baptist Health, but it wasn’t until being on the receiving end of care that he truly understood what patients experience – and how a culture of compassion makes all the difference when delivering cutting-edge care.