May 26, 2012|
Interventional Cardiologist, Huntington Internal Medicine Group
by Kensie Westerfield
“Sometimes in the cath lab, after I have worked a really complex case and had a good outcome, I will bust a sweet rhyme.” For Dr. Daniel Snavely, growing up in Chattaroy, WV on the basketball court led to other skills than a great jump-shot. It also led to the unique talent to rap on cue and left a lasting impression of how to treat people.
Growing up in the Appalachian Region instilled in Snavely a calling to serve in this area. “This is home. I love this place and the people. The people are so genuine and they are so appreciative of what you do. When I was in Cincinnati, I really rose to the top of my profession academically and professionally. I loved what I did. I loved being in academic medicine, doing research and being considered a leader in my field, nationally. But something was missing and it was not taking care of my people.”
Snavely, who grew up with the aspiration of being an actor, had a change of heart with a little help from his father and chose to study medicine instead. “My father told me that he felt I could touch more lives by being a physician. Dad’s view helped me to decide to go into medicine, as well as the fact that he had a bad heart. He died when I was an undergraduate and that created an interest in cardiology for me. I love everything I learned about going through medical school. Dad’s heart helped to create an interest, but it did not dictate what I decided to do.”
It turns out that his father was correct and he is touching lives to this day. “Just last week, I saw a patient in my office, an 82-year-old gentleman from Williamson, who was having chest pain. I admitted him, did a cath, put a stent in and he went home the next day. As it turns out, this guy grew up with and worked with my dad on the railroad.”
The success that Snavely has enjoyed is due to hard work and his motivation for excellence. From a checkout clerk at the Piggly Wiggly to an asbestos inspector for an engineering firm, from underground miner to doctor, Snavely always strives to be excellent no matter what the job or task at hand. “Excellence keeps me motivated—the desire to be excellent at what I do. It wakes me up in the morning and it motivates me at 2 a.m. when I have to get out of bed for an emergency. I want to be excellent. That is what I want to be surrounded by—excellence.”
Part of what helps him be an excellent doctor is his BlackBerry, which also happens to be his favorite thing. “It is a tool that enables me and simplifies my life. It keeps me in touch with my patients, my office and my referring physicians. It keeps my schedule and allows me to answer pages quickly.”
Snavely credits his mother and his hometown in Kentucky with always being there to help him when he needed it. “She did whatever she could to help me through school. When I interviewed for medical school, I was the best dressed person there. She did without necessities for herself so that I could have the best. After my dad died, she really did everything she could for me. And it was not just her. Neighbors, aunts and uncles and friends all helped me. When I would come home from medical school, somebody would help do the laundry or someone would give me $10 for gas. It was a community effort. But my mom was the guiding light.”
Snavely is also enjoying the success of a wonderful family life with his wife Pleshette and their four children.