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Our Community's Fix-It Doctor

Our Community's Fix-It Doctor

In his practice, he surgically repairs and replaces knees and hip joints repairs fractures and takes care of orthopedic ailments. “That’s one of the nice things about practicing and living in Lompoc,” the orthopedic surgeon muses. “There’s obviously things you sacrifice, not only on a personal level but a professional level, but it’s still the personal relationships you develop that are the most rewarding things. People trust you with their lives. That has an impact on me. It’s priceless.”

He earned his medical degree from the Chicago Medical School in 1980 and completed his Orthopaedic

Surgery residency in Cleveland. After looking for a place to practice near his Southern California hometown, he “hung out his shingle” following a move to Lompoc in 1985. This summer, he will begin his new role as LVMC’s Chief of Staff.

Most people in Lompoc sporting new knees and hips can often point to one man with thanks — Dr. Michael Gill.

“The way medicine is changing, I see physician leadership as a very important part of where we’re headed,” Dr. Gill says. “It’s becoming more and more of a vital part of how the medical staff relates to the hospital environment. That whole dynamic and relationship are evolving very rapidly. You have electronic medical records. You have oversight from federal agencies.

You have insurance companies telling you what to do. You have all that influence. Frankly, the way medicine has been delivered is not sustainable.” He sees himself as a dinosaur, a dying breed of physicians practicing privately out on their own.

Still what drew him to the profession remains. “It’s always been exciting,” he says. “It’s still fun, despite all the other influences out there. It’s fun to help people and improve the quality of their lives. It’s rewarding.”

For some 30 years, he’s also been the Lompoc High School team physician, a role he relishes for bringing him closer to the community and sports.

He was always drawn to science, carpentry, and movement. “I like fixing things. Orthopedics is a fix-it kind of profession. It improves the quality of their lives. That’s so visual when you take someone for many years and manage their arthritis and you see how their activity level and quality of life declines. And then you replace their knee or replace their hip and they come in and life’s good again. That’s the really rewarding part of it.”