10/14/09 — Wayne Memorial Hospital hires new plastic surgeon

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Wayne Memorial Hospital hires new plastic surgeon

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 14, 2009 1:46 PM

Dr. Ben Eskra

Dr. Benjamin Eskra wants to be known for giving great care and taking a personal interest in every patient.

So, the plastic surgeon left a private practice in his home state of Pennsylvania to become the first doctor affiliated with Wayne Health Physicians, established earlier this year by Wayne Memorial Hospital. The non-profit group handles the business aspects, allowing doctors to focus on the daily routine of practicing medicine.

Previously working in a distant suburb of Philadelphia, Eskra was used to being surrounded by competition. The fact that Goldsboro has not had a plastic surgeon for several years proved to be a selling point in his decision to relocate.

"It's a definite need," he said. "You look at this community, it's very well-staffed medically. It's a small community that's still a thriving population and far enough from Raleigh and Greenville. And there was an opportunity for me to do all the things that I enjoy. I really think this is a chance for me to become really established as someone who takes the time and cares.

"I think that I will thrive in a small community like this."

While the weather also holds an appeal, it's been the people that have most impressed him.

"I knew it as soon as I got off the plane the first time," he said. "The people are genuinely friendly."

He explained that while he's trained to handle such cosmetic surgeries like facelifts, tummy tucks and liposuction, he plans to have a more broad-based practice, focusing on such procedures as breast reductions, breast reconstructions, skin cancer excisions, lump and mole removals, any kind of general wound healing, as well as hand surgery and tendon repair, and treatment for carpal tunnel.

In fact, he said, he will from time to time turn down the more cosmetic requests.

"There's a lot more to do as I really evaluate it -- the person's motivation, psychologically," he said. Weighing such aspects sometimes "allows me to kind of say 'no'. That's why I want to be here, because I want to do the full range.

"I don't want to be the double hand transplant that makes it on the news. I want to do the everyday things, like when they chop off the tip of their fingers with the hand saw."

He realized long ago that part of his calling as a physician is to help in the healing process.

Recalling an occasion years ago, he told of a time he was working in the emergency room around 3:30 a.m. when a teenage girl involved in a car accident was brought in with facial lacerations. Eskra said he alerted the plastic surgeon on call, who had already gone home and referred the case to Eskra.

"He asked if I would take care of it, and he'd fix anything that didn't work," he said. "I found that I really loved the challenge of kind of piecing things back together, and she goes from horror to happy that she's back. There's a special satisfaction in that."

His own personal and professional relationships are likewise important.

Married recently, wife Tracy who is also a physician, is currently managing a physicians group and finishing her master's in business administration. She plans to join her husband in the spring.

Eskra also has a son, Ben, 6, who lives with his mother in Pennsylvania, but because he is a certified pilot, he is able to easily able to slip back and forth for weekend visits.

He also will have a familiar, and loyal, worker at his new practice -- Jackie Reinert, his medical assistant in Pennsylvania, who will serve as his office manager.

"We worked very well together," said Eskra, who first hired Mrs. Reinert a year and a half ago. "She and her husband decided to uproot and move down here, too. I feel sure at some point her children and grandchildren may even follow."

His new office -- 2400 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B -- located next to Wayne Pharmacy opened for business earlier this month.

"I'm excited about being part of the medical community. And I'm sure this backlog of patients will load me up very, very quickly," he said.

The phone number at the new practice will be 587-4400.