By BILL DUHART
Treat the patient, not the disease.
That's Dr. Warren Wolfe's credo. And, after 38 years in practice, it's finally beginning to pay off.
The New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians named Wolfe as its doctor of the year. A committee of the association picks a standout doctor among its 3,500 members each spring who demonstrates leadership in the community and compassion to patients.
Wolfe was the runaway winner this year.
``The people that we pick year after year face rigorous scrutiny and must have an impeccable record,'' said Dr. Albert Talone, president of the association. ``It's not given out lightly. I think people like Dr. Wolfe are the real deal.''
Doctor was surprised
Despite serving in the physician's association for more than 30 years, Wolfe said he was surprised by the honor.
``I was overwhelmed,'' Wolfe, 68, said recently. ``I never expected to be nominated by my peers.''
While the honor may have surprised him, it didn't surprise many of his patients.
``He is a wonderful man and a terrific physician,'' said Linda McNally, 57, of Audubon, who has been Wolfe's patient for 34 years. ``He is very caring and considers the whole person. He goes above and beyond the call of duty all the time.''
Treated 3 generations
Three generations of McNally's family have been treated by Wolfe. Her mother started seeing Wolfe the year before she did and her two sons have been patients since they were toddlers. The influence was so profound that one of McNally' s sons, Paul, 36, went on to become a doctor.
``Paul did a rotation as a medical intern in Dr. Wolfe's office,'' McNally said. ``He also wrote a letter of recommendation for him for medical school.''
Part of the family atmosphere of Wolfe's Kings Highway practice is fostered by his longtime staff and partner. His three employees have served no less than 29 years and he has a 35-year partnership with Dr. Richard M. Simon.
That familiarity was part of the prescription for healing, a staffer said.
``Patients feel like they're coming to visit family,'' said Linda Cresthull, a 34-year employee. ``They've grown up with us as we've grown up with them.''
Reach Bill Duhart at (856) 486-2576 or email@example.com