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A Leg Up

How the dynamic duo Dr. & Mrs. Samuel are revolutionizing the vein treatment industry

 

By Ellie Kemper
Photos by Kathryn Harrington

 

General Surgeon Dr. Steve Samuel stands out from most other doctors in that he can truthfully say that he has received all of the procedures he conducts at his practice, Comprehensive Vein Care. The motivation and passion he has for his new career are fueled by his life-changing experience with varicose vein surgery. We spoke with Dr. Samuel and his wife, Lori Samuel, to learn more about their practice.

After Dr. Samuel’s surgical residency in Houston, TX, he worked as a general surgeon in Louisville for 33 years. During this time, he recalls, “I was on my feet for 10 to 14 hours a day. I eventually developed tired, heavy, achy legs that started to burn and got really swollen.” These symptoms make life increasingly difficult for someone who spends so much time on their feet. Dr. Samuel explained, “About five years ago I went to a doctor for my veins. He said I would have to go to the hospital and be put to sleep with general anesthesia for surgery, and then I would be off work for two weeks. I thought, with my type A personality, thanks, but no thanks.” It wasn’t until recently that varicose vein procedures underwent significant changes.

Dr. Steve Samuel.

Almost two years ago, Dr. Samuel had the opportunity to review all of the new surgical options and choose which one was best for him. “17 months ago, I underwent all these procedures for veins,” said Dr. Samuel. The experience had a profound effect on him and he recalled, “It made such a difference in my life. I went all across the country to train in vein centers and become certified so that I could dedicate the rest of my career to giving back to others what someone gave me, which is healthy legs you can be proud of.”

This opportunity came at the perfect time for Dr. Samuel and his wife Lori. “We decided that we wanted a lifestyle change,” said Lori. Dr. Samuel agreed that “after 33 years of being on call every night and going for emergency surgeries, we wanted to spend time together and enjoy life a little bit more.” And so, in February of 2020, the two decided that Dr. Samuel would retire to focus all of their efforts into opening a new vein care practice.

Mayor Mike Moore, Lori Samuel and Dr. Steve Samuel. Photo courtesy of the City of Jeffersonville.

The Samuels started Comprehensive Vein Care from the ground up. Dr. Samuel explained, “Lori picked out the office for me, in Jeffersonville, IN. It was just a shell when we walked in. She created the specs for it, she did all the decorating for it and now she does all my marketing.” It was without a doubt a substantial task for the couple, but they speak about their new practice with such joy and gratitude that no one would know how laborious it was. “Marketing was nonexistent. We got to create everything from the start. It was a lot of fun, from how we wanted our office to look to how we were going to reach clients” said Lori. The Samuels are especially proud of the website, and explained, “You can make appointments through the website, read reviews and find out information on what procedures we offer.” Lori also created a Facebook page to update their clients.

Another primary way they market Comprehensive Vein Care is by holding symposiums with other nurses and doctors in the region. “We go to one or two offices a week to put on a lunch for physicians who might be in an area such as podiatry but also see the legs, or dermatology, gynecology or primary care. We do a one-hour symposium where we bring pamphlets that show our procedures,” explained Dr. Samuel. “Most doctors are so grateful because they have all these patients with vein related symptoms and, quite frankly, don’t know where to send them.” Comprehensive Vein Care is one of the few vein care facilities in the region, and the increased knowledge of their procedures helps referring doctors know where to send their patients. From his 33 years as a general surgeon, Dr. Samuel said, “I’ve developed great relationships with referring doctors. They all know that I am retired now but they continue to refer me to their vein and venous insufficiency patients.”

Currently, there are 30 million Americans experiencing vein issues, though only 9% of them are receiving treatment. “This is such a prevalent disease,” said Dr. Samuel. The major challenge is that there simply aren’t many doctors who specialize in veins. Dr. Samuel continued, “External circumstances and genetics are the big factors that contribute, but you can’t prevent it. About 75% of my patients have a family member with venous insufficiency. Jobs where people sit all day with their knees bent or jobs where they stand all day can cause venous insufficiency as well. Also, every pregnancy a woman has increases her chance of having venous insufficiency by 12.5%.”

A unique aspect of Comprehensive Vein Care the Samuels emphasized is that all consultations, ultrasounds and procedures are conducted at their facility. Dr. Samuel explained the convenience of functioning as an independent practice and even claimed that “When you walk in our office, you’d never know it’s a medical office because it looks just like a spa.” The tremendous amount of work the couple put into launching their vein care practice has completely paid off for Lori and Dr. Samuel. “We have fun,” they said, laughing. “This is really a partnership and not just a marriage. We are the rarity; we love being with each other both at home and at work.”

For more information, visit comprehensiveveincare.net.