Meet Wayne Tuckson, MD, a colon and rectal surgeon and host of Kentucky Health on KET

Tuckson

FAST FACTS

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Family: Wife, Brenda Tuckson and sons Wayne Lee Tuckson and James Henry Clay III

Hobbies: Without a doubt I am in a whole other world when I have my camera in my hands.   Photography is an outlet for my curiosity and challenges me to see things differently. I particularly enjoy sports, macro and wildlife photography.

Vacation spot: Hands down, heaven for me is Cape May, New Jersey. It is without a doubt the one place that I can totally relax and unwind and yet stay stimulated.

The last good book you read: I generally read biographies and histories, particularly those related to military events. The last book that I read was Mob Rules by Louis Ferrante (Portfolio, June 2011) and on my night stand I have Cheated by Jay Smith (Potomac Books, March 2015) and The Excellence Dividend by Tom Peters (Vintage, April 2018)

Favorite music / song: My go to choices are, in jazz either John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, old school Motown or the Philly sound, Bluegrass, especially a local group called Coaltown Dixie, vocalist Nina Simone, Bobby McFerrin, and Johnny Mathis, and finally, no matter the season, choral Christmas music.

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Medical News: Why did you become a doctor? 

Wayne Tuckson, MD: I become a doctor to satisfy my interests in the biological sciences and a desire to understand how the human body worked. To this day I remain fascinated watching intestinal peristalsis.  How cool is it that as a surgeon I get to see stuff work!

MN: Why did you choose this specialty?

WT: I am a colon and rectal surgeon.  This specialty gives me the opportunity to combine my interest in gastrointestinal function and cancer.

MN: How did you become the host of Kentucky Health on KET?

WT: I started the television show 20 years ago as a vehicle to demystify illnesses and the healthcare system.  My intent was to raise the collective health IQ so that patients could be both better participants and more responsible in their own healthcare. The partnership with KET has increased the reach of the show to all of Kentucky and improved upon the quality of the production.  However, were it not for the willing participation of the physicians of Kentucky, there would not be a show.

MN: What do you hope to achieve as host of this show? 

WT: One of the reasons for the great disparity in health status that we see in some groups compared to others is a lack of health awareness.  Specifically, a lack of understanding of wellness, how to maintain wellness and how return to a state of wellness following an illness.

The lack of health awareness leads patients to not being participants in their own healthcare and not taking responsibility. This is not to suggest that patients should direct treatment, but clearly a lack of fundamental understanding leads to patients not following up on test, not taking medications appropriately, not seeing the full picture in managing in managing their chronic conditions, not expressing their concerns and thoughts to the healthcare team.

MN: What is your favorite episode to date?

WT: I am like a parent in that I like them all. There have been some that I liked less than others, but probably my favorite was one in which we discussed how contemporary music, in this case bluegrass music, spoke to and educated about specific diseases and social economic issues about healthcare.

MN: What’s one thing your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you? 

WT: I cry at movies. At heart I am a softy.

MN: What’s the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you? 

WT: That is easy, it was Mother. On entering medical school, she told me to never mess up a bed that a nurse just made, and always listen to the nurse as they may know more about what going on with the patient than you do. I have followed hear admonitions these past many years and both me and my patients have been benefited.

MN: What is your motto?

WT: I may not be the smartest person in the room, but if you put that person or any person on my team in a position to succeed, then we will all benefit.

MN: If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?

WT: I started college with the intent of becoming a lawyer, but now I can’t imagine doing that job. Though I wasn’t aware of this field at the time, I can now see me as a nutritionist or in nutritional research. I now appreciate the many roles of nutrients from maintaining the gut biome to nutriceuticals in cancer prevention and treatment.

MN: Who are your heroes in healthcare?

WT: On my office wall I have pictures of LaSalle D. Leffall Jr, MD, Jack E. White, MD, and Victor W. Fazio, MD. Each has impacted my approach to patient care, my craft and my conduct outside of medicine. However, if asked who I most emulate in my practice on a day to day basis it would be Ian Lavery, MD and Clive Callander, MD.

MN: How do you go the extra mile, above and beyond their daily tasks to improve patient care, community health or hospital operations?

WT: To me going the extra mile implies that there is a finite amount to what we can give or do. Rather, I think in terms of doing the right thing.  There are many times that we must choose between the expedient and the just. The expedient choice often must be explained, but the doing the right thing speaks for itself.  It is always the right time to do the right thing and that is not going the extra mile, just what we should be doing in the first place.

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