A Topeka doctor says she will expand her Lawrence practice to help local diabetes patients make up for the loss of the city's only full-time endocrinologist.
Charyse Sindler said she'd made the decision after seeing last week's Journal-World report that Dr. Richard Fairchild, Lawrence's only specialist for diabetes and other glandular conditions, was leaving.
"My home base is still going to be Topeka, but I'm going to expand it definitely," Sindler said this week. "And they'll let me expand it as the need rises."
Sindler already visits Lawrence's Cotton-O'Neil Clinic, 325 Maine, twice a month, and has a local roster of about seven patients. She expects to double her visits and see as many as 50 Lawrence patients.
Local diabetes cases are rising by as many as 500 new patients a year. Experts said Sindler's efforts, while helpful, probably wouldn't stem that tide. Many Lawrence diabetes patients will still be forced to seek specialized medical attention in Kansas City and Topeka.
"You're looking at 7 percent of the population has diabetes," said Patrick Ayers, executive director of the American Diabetes Assn. chapter in Overland Park. "I'm sure (one specialist) doesn't meet the need of the community."
There are 40 endocrinologists to treat 326,000 diabetics in the 50-county area of Kansas and Missouri served by his organization, Ayers said. Primary care physicians can carry much of the diabetes-treatment load, he said, but specialists like endocrinologists are needed.
Otherwise, he said, "people would probably be more inclined not to treat their diabetes properly."
Sindler, who graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1988, agreed. The shortage of endocrinologists, she said, is nationwide.
"I'm a little biased, but I think it's pretty important," she said, adding, "In the Midwest, it's hard to recruit people who aren't from here."
To schedule an appointment with Sindler, call Cotton-O'Neil at 840-2551.