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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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July 17, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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July 17, 1997
 

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Food, Health and Fitness Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, July 17, 199715 i I) Dr. Meloro, 'Marching thru 50 years of health card' by L. H. Stronach Gazette Staff When asked to briefly describe what a DO is, Summit Family Healthcare's only physican, Dr. Angelo Meloro, replied, "If you take an MD and send him to chiropractic training, you would have a doctor of osteopathic medicine." A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is an MD with manipulation. Some medical doctors are beginning to insti- tute that aspect into their treat- ment plans. From age 16 until he was 20 years old, Meloro was a musi- cian. During hisjunioryearin gh school he began playing vith the school band. He con- tinued his musical career until he finished pre-med. "I played for "circuses on rubber' meaning a circus that Dr. Meloro travels by van and truck." Cir- cuses like Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey were known as rail service, or circus by train. "I spent one season on the road playing with the Dan Rice Circus Band," said Meloro. Sleeping in a hotel versus sleeping in a truck was the exception rather than the rule. Meloro, born Sept. 4, 1921, in Binghamton, N.Y., re- members most of his early days were involved in music. During high school he learned to play the trumpet. At the age of 17 he wrote and published a march called "The Binghamton Sun March." Meloro's brother, who was a doctor, inspired him to consider medicine as a career. "I looked up to my older brother. That influenced my decision to become a doctor." he said. When Meloro completed pre-med at Syracuse Univer- sity, he said farewell to his musical career to concentrate on becoming a doctor. "From then on my evenings were no longer mine." In 1945 he began hi training at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. After graduating in 1948 he went on to Metro Health Hospital, in Erie, Pa., to complete his internship. His first practice in general medicine, was in Waterford Pa., from 1949-57. During those years he took a sabbatical to attend Dover Clinic in Boston for proctology training. From t957-69 Meloro worked at Metro Health Clinic. He left there to open a private practice. From 1970-89 Meloro operated The Family Medicine Clinic in Socorro, N.M. In 1972 Meloro did his Fellowship in Plastic Surgery at Loma Linda Hospital in Mexico City. While in Mexico he observed that physicians there appeared to have more latitude and were not required to do residencies. They were able to cross the lines between specialty areas comfortably. Those procedures done in Mexico, if done in the U.S., would have been performed by a specialist." After Meloro's fn'st retirement in 1989, 'Whe Party of Concerned Citizens of Socorro decided that they needed me. They insisted that I should run for mayorl " He was elected Mayor of Socorro and served for one year. From 1990-91, Meloro was Medical Director at Cation County Medical Clinic. After leaving there he worked at La Casa Buena Salud in Portales, N.M., as a staff physician. During the same period he was a staffphysician at the State Correctional Facility in Santa Fe, N.M. "I always had the 'screwy' idea that I would like to retire in Las Vegas." In 1992, he accepted a position with the Canon Senior Citizens Clinic in Las Vegas. While working at the Canon Clinic, Meloro and his wife lived in their recreational vehicle at an RV park. "We became disillusioned with Las Vegas' congestion and be- gan looking around the small towns in Nevada." In the process of looking they came upon Pahrump. Instantly, his wife loved it. "At one point I had told the clinic medical director we wanted to build a house in Pahrump and commute, stated Meloro. One day the director asked, "Do you still want to live in Pahrump?" He informed Meloro that Family Emer- gency Medical Center in Pahrump was looking for a doctor. They made an offer on the Friday he went to see them. "They asked me to start the next Monday. First, I asked if I could take a vacation. I hadn't had a vacation in quite awhile, said Meloro. He continued, "They're response was 'we have no cov- erage; could you come next Monday?' I made a deal and came out three days later." So, naturally, when asked why he chose Pahrump, Meloro replied: "My wife, Peggy, fell in love with Pahrump." In 1993 Meloro came to Pahrump to work. When Family Emergency Medical was taken over by Desert Springs Hospital in 1996 he remained on staff. On Mondays and Tuesdays he can be seen at the clinic. When asked about his interests or hobbies Meloro re- sponded, "I like to fish! I still enjoy my music. I am working on another march. When I get more time I will finish it. Of course, I enjoy gardening and watching my garden grow." He said, "My wife and I love to dine out and travel in our motor home." The Meloro family also consists of daughter, Angela, who has just recently received her RN degree. As for health care plans, Meloro feels that Fee for Service "has gotten out of hand with extravagant fees. As for HMOs. 1) Physicians are charging more and getting paid less. 2) The amount of service to the patient has decreased. 3) You can't prescribe newer, more expensive drugs unless the patient can pay for it because insurances won't cover them. "Suffice it to say," he said "There are new antibiotics on the market. These require a daily dose, are easier to admin- ister and for the patient to remember to take. In most cases, we can't prescribe them unless the patient is willing to pay the full price." From Meloro's objective the future of medicine is bleak, "without HMOs the poor guy's up a creek. It will strictly be for those who can afford good comprehensive care at full rate. It depends on how drug companies will come in line with prices they charge." As for theclinic's future, Meloro stated "Summit Family Healthcare is very viable and will survive," he continued, "How I fit into that future depends on Summit and how long I am able to work. I am going to be 76 and don't have much of a future." As for what Pahrump needs, Meloro states, "I think we need one or two more pharmacies and supermarkets; a little more fair competition and like every community we need to crack down on drug use. And we need more stoplights !" When presented with the'question of health care in the rural setting, Meloro said, "It's getting better! As long as clinics will employ retired experienced doctors it is good. A lot better than it has been in the past!" Comparing medicine from the 1940s to that of the 1990s, Meloro laughed and commented, "Holy Oysterst 1) We had no penicillin when I started. We used sulfa drugs. In those days we sat on pneumonias anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Now we have a host of antibiotics. 2) There were no computer- ized EKGs, you had to have a specialist in cardiology read every one. 3) There were no computerized radiographics to diagnose discreet pathologies and tumors." Before computerized technology, diagnosing was all physical. "We used to say watch out when the corn gets ripe. You could expect  polio outbreak. You used your eyes, ears, touch, and training. Now it's almost push button medicine." In Meloro's opinion, the most serious health problem in today's youth is HIV, but only second to drug dependency. In middle age, health problems are the same as in his early years in practice. "Those were diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Surgical problems are the same but techniques have improved." In other words, thanks to technology, diagnosing and treating is easier. Meloro feels that seniors have more Alzheimer's. But then years ago, much was classed as dementia including syphilic dementia, which has pretty much been eradicated by antibiotics. As usual, there is the physical deterioration from arthritis." Meloro related a comical situation he dealt with during the time he practiced in New Mexico When I was in Socorro practicing, a guy was thrown from his horse. He was throwll directly onto a sequoia cactus, backside first, I spent two hours pulling out cactus spurs from his bottom. The patient wasn't amused, especially because I couldn't stop laugh- ing. Each time I pulled out a spur I envisioned him landing on the cactus plant!" The most heart-rendering situation during his career was "Probably unexpected death. A patient is doing well and then you get a call telling you he has suddenly died!" As for what Meloro does in his spare time when he is not gardening, enjoying music, dining out or traveling in his RV. He replied, "What else is there to do? Actually, I read journals and keep up with my CMEs (continuing medical education)." The accomplishment he is most proud of is "being a doctor and the march I wrotS:as a kid. As for the march I am working on, possibly I'll call it 'The Pahrump March!'"