Profiles in Practice: James Stavosky, DPM
Dr. James Stavosky is a podiatric physician who specializes in wound care in Daly City, CA. He began practicing podiatry nearly 30 years ago in a full time academic practice, teaching four days and tending to private patients 2 half days per week. From 1987-1998 he was the Department Chair and professor at the Seton Wound Care (Medical) Center.
“I was lucky because my training was at the California College of Podiatric Medicine ( now the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt College) which, at the time was in San Francisco and had its own 28-bed hospital. We were able to have clinics onsite and got lots of real case experience early on.”
In 2015, Dr. Stavosky was named the Medical Director for the Seton Center for Advanced Wound Care in Daly City, and in 1998 was appointed Chief of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and opened a full time private practice. “I was always interested in wound care, even though I had surgical training. Eventually I became very known for treatment of the diabetic foot and chronic wounds and was sent 95% of these cases by my colleagues.”
“Even though I was certified by ABFAS, I always felt that there needed to be a certification for Medicine.” Dr. Stavosky was one of the founding directors of ABPM. “For me, taking the extra step to be credentialed and to demonstrate my expertise in medicine made me a complete physician. I think you have the obligation to your patient to look at the foot and ankle not just with an eye to surgery, but with a holistic view, so you can decide if a medical or surgical route needs to be taken or how to integrate those in your treatment plan.”
Dr. Stavosky feels the three year residency provides residents with the right balance of surgery and medicine. It is because the two areas are now combined that the ABPM was able to waive the case documentation requirement for those with the three year training. “Medicine is well covered and residents have the cases already to demonstrate that expertise,” stated Stavosky.
Dr. Stavosky likes to treat patients with the support of an integrated, multidisciplinary team. “I think to preserve limbs, and tend to severe wounds, it is best to have the podiatrist –who understands both podiatric medicine and surgery, the vascular specialist, the internal medicine doctor, the plastic surgeon and the orthopedic.” According to the APMA, including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation up to 85 percent and lowers the risk of hospitalization by 24 percent.
“I personally feel that treating patients medically first builds trust because it shows you are reviewing the total situation first without rushing to surgery. I also think both the patient and the insurance company appreciate seeing a podiatrist go through conservative steps first to avoid surgery.”
“I am a physician and a surgeon of the ankle and foot, and I have sought to credential myself accordingly,” said Stavosky. “I would advise all young podiatrists to do the same.”
When Dr. Stavosky is not busy with his practice, he is spending time with his two children, 9 and 12, adopted from Guatemala, and his wife, a retired PE teacher and dancer whose feet “require much attention to keep going.”