To be is to breathe
An inherent characteristic of a being is to able to breathe seamlessly, effortlessly and continuously. This ability can change if you have a problem with your lungs, whether it’s a lifelong disease or a short-term illness. “There is a wide spectrum of diseases that affect the lungs and respiratory tract,” says Dr. Sneha Samant, a board-certified pulmonologist at East Jefferson General Hospital. “Lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions in the world.”
When Dr. Samant was a teenager, her father was diagnosed with a serious pulmonary disorder. It was a tough personal experience for her, but this lesson early in life inspired her to pursue medicine. As she completed her training in internal medicine, pulmonary and critical care seemed to be just the right fit. She and her husband, who is now a practicing nephrologist in Metairie, made the decision to remain in the city rather than move back to Lafayette because they fell in love with the city. “Somehow, it all just worked out for us,” she says. “Our 1-year-old son also enjoys the New Orleans life. He loves music and often breaks into a dance on the streets.”
As one of the new faces in pulmonary medicine at EJGH, Dr. Samant joins a flourishing pulmonary practice serving a population with great need for pulmonary medicine. Being at EJGH for a short period of time, she has already grown to have a busy practice. Her weekly schedule consists of clinic, where she sees patients with asthma, COPD and lung cancer among many other illnesses, and she spends the rest of her day in the hospital doing procedures and caring for the critically ill in the ICU.
Although there are challenging aspects of pulmonary and critical care medicine, as well as the complexities of ICU care, Dr. Samant focuses on the rewarding nature of her practice. “When you liberate someone from the ventilator and hear the cries of joy and love, you are reminded of why you are in this field,” she says. “It invigorates you in a way I just can’t explain. You forget that you haven’t slept and just come back to do it all over again.”
Dr. Samant has an ever-growing interest in lung cancer, which is diagnosed in an estimated 174,000 Americans each year. It is a brutal and devastating disease. “When I started off my career, I really lacked optimism in the field of lung cancer,” she says. “I can tell you with certainty that my personal outlook has dramatically changed for the better.”
Early diagnosis and appropriate staging is allowing more patients to be squeezed through the “doughnut hole” (which is early surgery) and potentially be cured of their cancer. She is effortlessly working with her team to incorporate the newest and best technologies into her practice at EJGH. Another morbid disease she likes to spend her time treating is pulmonary hypertension. During her training at LSU, she spent a great deal of her time with professors learning how to diagnose and treat this disease. “This is a very sick population of patients who need very careful medical care,” Dr. Samant says. She has spent a good amount of time in the past performing research in the field and hopes to continue to do so in the future.
Dr. Samant is a zealous learner, and she loves to share ideas and hopes to be able to teach medical students and residents in the future. She strives to provide the best care for her patients by reading about and learning how to incorporate the newest and greatest into her practice. “It is our responsibility as physicians to keep up with the medical literature and incorporate this into our practices,” she says.
Pulmonary medicine at EJGH has been recognized by virtually every grading organization and has led the field as a regional and, at times, national leader. “At EJGH, we are dedicated to providing the highest levels of personalized care to those with breathing difficulties or lung ailments,” Dr. Samant says.
Being a newcomer to EJGH, she is extremely impressed with the coordination of consultative care, the outstanding nursing staff and the quality of care provided at EJGH. “Everyone is always smiling and happy; from the housekeeping staff to the vice president of the hospital, this has been a phenomenal experience,” Dr. Samant says.
And on a lighter note, she says, “My dad is doing fine now. He plays tennis everyday, and his lungs are fine.”
Sneha Samant, M.D.
4224 Houma Blvd., Ste. 380
Metairie, LA 70006