Saline County has a new pediatrician serving southeastern Illinois starting today.
Dr. Blaine Eubanks, a native of Eldorado, has joined Primary Care Group in Harrisburg to take the place of Dr. Charles Seten who is retiring Aug. 10.
"It's always been a dream to come back to Southern Illinois for a long time. It's really a dream come true to be close to my family and friends," explained Eubanks yesterday.
He grew up in Saline County and at 29 is now partners with doctors who treated him as a child. He's the son of Greg and Katina Eubanks. His father was an optometrist in Harrisburg who passed away about three years ago.
Eubanks attended high school in Chicago, earned his bachelor's degree in English at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., attended Southern Illinois University's medical school in Carbondale and Springfield. He then completed four years residency in Peoria at St. Francis Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Illinois.
"My wife and I just had our first baby and we wanted a small town," Eubanks said.
His wife, the former Jenna Talmage, hails from Vienna.
"I've grown up as this place has grown up over the years," he said noting the growth of the physicians' group where he will work.
Although he's a trained pediatrician he will also see adults. Normally family practitioners do three years of training. He spent four so he could become board certified in both internal medicine, the field to find most doctors who treat adults, as well as pediatrics.
Technically, he's board eligible as he still has to take his tests.
He and his wife just moved into Harrisburg.
"It's great how welcoming everybody has been," he said.
He loves medicine.
"Most days I love it. I couldn't ask for a better job," he said.
He's most excited about "bringing pediatrics back to Saline County," and "getting to take care of my family and friends, and neighbors I grew up with."
While some of his friends in medical school wanted to go into hospital-based medicine, he always knew he wanted to focus on a private practice in a community setting.
"I feel like I'm part of the community again," he said.
He will also spend time at neighboring Harrisburg Medical Center as an admitting physician.
"One of the things [doctors] are getting away from is following their patients in the hospitals. I think that's part of the quality of care and being a good physician," he explained.
The changing future of medicine worries some but he finds it exciting.
"It's always changing. That's exciting for me," he said.
Improving insurance availability is one of the big issues out there that he hopes that can be expanded. Electronic health records are another new change as medicine increasing relies on technology.
Page 2 of 2 - "I'm real interested in computers that that's really appealing," he said with his iPad just a inches away from him on the table.
As a resident he used it "all the time" to type of patient notes and to check medical records.
"People do surgery with robots, but some people are still afraid of the computer," he noted.
At Primary Care Group, "everything here is electronic." Getting to use the electronic records "effectively and efficiently is the next step," for medical practitioners.
"My goal is to be the doctor I would want to see or who I would send my mother to," he said referring to the Golden Rule of "do unto others..."
He's thrilled to be back in Harrisburg at Primary Care Group.
"It's the goal I had in mind when I was in medical school," he said. "I'm living my dream to be here."