- Associated Press - Sunday, June 9, 2019

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (AP) - Few people can say after a long career that they have never missed a single day of work because of illness, surgery or foul weather.

But that is exactly what happened to Dr. Mike Malamisura, who recently retired after 41 years of providing care to patients.

With the strong work ethic also came an appreciation, he said, that God blessed him with the “good health and perseverance” that allowed such a rare accomplishment.

A gastroenterologist with Bluefield Regional Medical Center, Malamisura said retirement did not come easily, but he knew when he had reached the point he was ready.

“I have found that, with the advancing years, the attendant physical and emotional stress has taken its toll upon me,” he said. “This, along with the ever-increasing intrusion of the various outside regulatory agencies, has led me to the realization that I can no longer provide the compassionate and most effective medical care that I was able to.”

Malamisura said when he first started practicing medicine he had the “altruistic desire to deliver good, safe medical care to my patients. Recent changes in the practice of medicine, however, made that ever more difficult.”

That being said, he described his career as rewarding.

“It has been my distinct honor and privilege to have helped serve the medical needs of the fine citizens of this community and the surrounding two-state area.” he said. “As I look back on my time at West Virginia University (medical school, residency and fellowship) and Bluefield Regional Medical Center, I see a time well spent, a time with few regrets, an overall happy time.”

Malamisura said his career has been both challenging and rewarding.

“Over the years I have been blessed to have forged close and lasting relationships with many wonderful people,” he said. “I have talked with them, laughed with them, and yes, even cried with them. I can honestly say that for every person that I have mentored, treated, or simply given advice to I have been rewarded by also learning from them.”

Patients are not just numbers, he added.

“Probably the one thing that I will miss the most in retirement is getting to know who was sitting across from me in the office as a person, not just as patient or a number,” he said. “I thank them all for the many memories that I will take with me, and I thank them for allowing me to share in their lives.”

Family has been a focus as well.

“I can honestly say that, despite my rigorous work schedule, there were very few school programs, dance recitals or ball games that I missed as my kids were growing up,” he said.

Malamisura said having an understanding family that know they are “always first in my heart” was never taken for granted.

His wife, Mary, is “wonderful,” he said, and was always there for him and his children and is his “strength and support.”

“In a way, it is ironic and fitting that my professional career comes to an end (May 31) on our 44th wedding anniversary,” he said.

Malamisura recognized the late Dr. Brookins Taylor, “who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to come back home to establish my practice,” and other colleagues who supported him, as well as Tammy O’Donnell, his office manager, and Lindsey Harless, his receptionist.

Dr. Steve Bourne, professor of business at Bluefield State College, has known Malamisura most of his life.

“We have known each other since we were kids and graduated from Bluefield High School together in 1970,” he said.

Bourne, who is also one of Malamisura’s patients, said he was happy to see him come back to his roots for a career.

“When Mike made the decision to return home to Bluefield to practice, our community was greatly blessed,” he said. “And we continue to be.”

Bourne said Malamisura has treated thousands of patients and he will be hard to replace because he values patients and treats them like his family.

“He is someone I greatly admire,” he said.

One of Malamisura’s colleagues who also recently retired, Dr. Tony Rasi, said the community was fortunate he did return home.

Dr. Mike Malamisura is truly a dedicated, reliable and very knowledgable gastroenterologist,” he said. “He will be sorely missed by the community at large.”

As Malamisura leaves his practice, he sees it as a transition and a continuation of a very full life.

“While it is true that I am retiring from work as I have known it, I am starting a new chapter in my life,” he said. “It will be different, but there will be many of my career experiences that I will carry forward with me. I am anxiously anticipating whatever opportunities and challenges that await me. It is time for me to just . enjoy being.”


Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, http://www.bdtonline.com

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