Physicians Emeritus

Dr. Vasireddy V. Bhoopal
retiring December 2015

The very best gift a physician can receive upon retirement is the knowledge that compassionate, attentive and intelligent care will continue for their patients. As Dr. Bhoopal entrusts his patients to Zmedi, he knows he is ensuring the same level of patient involvement and commitment to quality that he delivers himself.

Dr. Bhoopal has been a physician for most of his life, entering college at age 15 and completing his doctorate and residency by the time he was 28. He has practiced medicine in the Chicago area for over 39 years, board-certified in family medicine and certified in geriatric medicine.

Dr. Bhoopal’s philosophy of care is based upon conservative, non-invasive treatment. He prescribes physical therapy and daily exercises for back and joint pain before turning to medications or recommending surgery. He recommends lifestyle changes to improve health and educates his patients about the importance of preventative care and screenings. He is conscious of the rising cost of prescriptions for his patients and prescribed generics whenever possible.

A good physician, believes Dr. Bhoopal, must have several qualities. Basic training is very important, but involved mentoring and a continuing love of learning – a curious mind – is even more so. “One of my mentors, Dr. Stenson at Rush, used to set aside an hour each day to read the latest updates, studies and research. When a physician finds someone who will teach them and guide them, beyond books – that is very special and helps to create better physicians. Teaching me to continue to learn, to keep an open mind to new ideas, was invaluable to help my patients.”

Physicians also need to feel the pain of their patients. “Empathy is very important for a physician to have. Doctors should understand not only the disease, but the effects of the disease, and the difficulty of dealing with the disease for the patient and their families.”

“Time is also of great value to patients.” He smiles. “I know sometimes patients may feel they are in the waiting room longer than they should be, but when I am in the room with them, they know that I am not going to rush them along. I will be thorough and I will answer every question. I will take the time necessary to make sure they are properly cared for. And that is something my patients have always appreciated. No one is on an assembly line here.”

He very much enjoys the challenges of geriatric medicine. “There is a difficulty in diagnosis and care that challenges me very positively. With multiple issues faced, there is a great deal to consider when treating and medicating to improve or stabilize health.”

Diabetes has become a special interest to Dr. Bhoopal. “Diabetes is not just one disease, really. It affected multiple systems within the body. The vascular system is most affected, but it also affects the kidneys, damages nerves, eyes and hearing – there are many different diseases caused by diabetes.”

The biggest problem facing our health and the health of our entire population now, he stresses, is obesity. “As we age, we gain a little extra weight, especially if we are genetically inclined. However, what is happening within our community goes far beyond a few genetic pounds.” He urges patients to keep their weight under control and to lose the excess. “I recommend starting a food diary and writing down every thing a patient eats, so we can start with a solid idea of the content and amount of their regular diet. That way, we all understand that jumping into a 1,000-calorie-a-day regimen just isn’t going to work.”

Working with a dietician who can tailor a new eating plan to include favorite foods is vital to long-term success, he says. And all this low-fat engineered food? “This is a big part of the problem – combined with larger portions,” he says. “Food without fat tastes like cardboard, so they have to add dense sugars to make up for that, which is worse for you. Fat in food is not the problem. And many don’t understand what a “portion” should really look like. Most patients are surprised to discover they are eating 3,000 calories a day.”

In almost 4 decades, Dr. Bhoopal has watched the practice of medicine change. “It is no longer about acute care,” he said. “Now, preventative care is very important. We are concerned not about just one person, but about the population as a whole. The use of diagnostic testing has changed also. Colonoscopies, for example, are now widely used, and covered by insurance, to prevent cancer.”

He believes that physicians should advocate aggressively for patients. “Insurance companies are now more hesitant to approve testing and treatments, perhaps because there were a significant number of unnecessary procedures not long ago. Physicians need to be willing to push the insurers and fight for their patients to get the treatment and care they need.”

Dr. Bhoopal has won multiple honors and distinctions, including Best Outgoing Resident at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s, Recognition of Excellence by Advocate Physician Partners for achieving top performance and America’s Top 100 Family Doctor Award. He has published papers on multiple sclerosis, lipoproteins and infectious hepatitis. He is on staff at Advocate Christ Hospital Medical Center and Palos Community Hospital and has served as the Medical Director at Christ Hospital’s Immediate Care Center.

The bonds he developed with his patients are lasting, full of trust. “I have a moral responsibility to transition my patients to the right hands – I want to be very fair to them. I am part of the family for many of my patients – and I feel that they are part of mine.”

“Zmedi is the right practice to care for my patients. Drs. Zaman, Karanastasis and Nagubadi provide very good care and they are very concerned about their patients. I especially like, as most of my patients are older, that these doctors can continue to provide their care as they recover from a surgery in a rehab facility, or enter a nursing home. Zmedi will provide a high quality continuity of care and will go out of their way for my patients. With three physicians, the practice will also have a more flexible schedule.”

“I also feel that having a woman (Dr. Nagubadi) to see my patients can be a help for them. There are things women patients may want to discuss that may be a little easier with Dr. Nagubadi.”

In retirement, Dr. Bhoopal will split his time between the United States and his native India, where he grew up catching and riding wild horses with his brother. “I love to go fast,” he smiles. “In India, it was horses. Here it is boats, snow mobiles, bikes.” With siblings and friends living in India, Dr. Bhoopal will enjoy his many nieces and nephews. He also plans on volunteering in remote urgent care facilities, staying engaged in lifelong learning.

“Zmedi will go to extremes for their patients and I feel very good about the care they will give to my patients. I know that my patients will feel that too.”