A young doctor finds his way.
A few months after finishing his residency, Stanley Voigt ’06 MD’10 moved to Fairfax, VA, and spent his first few weeks on the road, driving to meet the physicians in the community he would call home. Voigt, 31, is an ear, nose, and throat specialist who joined his first practice, Associates in Otolaryngology, outside of Washington, DC, in August 2015. Now he’s balancing his ambitions to grow as a young physician with building a new life for
In his early years of medical school, Voigt could not tell you what otolaryngology was. The oldest medical specialty in the US, physicians in this field specialize in the medical and surgical management of diseases affecting the head and neck—a broad palette of conditions ranging from hearing loss and tonsillitis to mouth and neck cancer. In the course of a day, ENTs can peer into a voice box or remove malignant tumors from a jugular vein. For Voigt, it was the perfect blend of surgery and internal medicine.
Voigt comes from a family of physicians: his father is a psychiatrist; his brother, Clifford Voigt ’05 MD’09, is an orthopedic surgeon; and his sister, Niesha Voigt ’14 MD’18, will soon join their ranks. Medicine was infused in his household, and he still remembers beaming at his father when he was growing up. “I was enthralled by what he could do,” Voigt says. “He’d come home with a stethoscope and that would drive my imagination.”
After residency at Tufts Medical Center, Voigt has seen the gamut of conditions ENTs encounter and has even brought novel techniques, like video-stroboscopy, to his practice. Video-stroboscopy turns the movement of a patient’s vocal cords into a slow-motion movie. Doctors place the strobe on the neck and pulse light at the vocal cords in steady intervals, slightly behind the speed of the vocalization. When projected on-screen, these pulses of light form a detailed picture of the voice box, and allow ENTs to see subtle pathologies that would otherwise be blurred by the movement of the vocal cords. Although the technique has been in use for many years, it is scarce in private practices. Voigt sees many patients with voice disorders, and offering this technique saves them a trip to another specialist.
His patients reflect the breadth and challenges of the field. “In ENT, you can feel like a primary care provider,” Voigt says. But he is careful not to take this routine care for granted: “We can lose sight of the impact we have. Something as simple as earwax removal gives people back their hearing, and can be a lifesaving measure against diseases like meningitis,” he says.
Voigt also faces issues that span beyond the walls of his clinic. When he cares for patients with cancer he is often fighting an uphill battle against smoking. Despite the challenges, he cherishes the road to recovery with his patients. “As a surgeon, you can be forced into quick encounters,” he says, “but even a bit of rapport is important.”
Elizabeth Davis, DVM ’06, Voigt’s wife, says: “Stan always calls his patients the night after performing surgery. He is always available for them.” The two met as freshmen in Perkins Hall, and were married a few days after Voigt finished medical school and Davis finished veterinary school. Their daughter, Clara Marie, was born five days after Voigt finished his residency.
“Before, I was so devoted to residency, but things are slowing down,” Voigt says. He plans to give that devotion back to his community. “The senior partner in my practice has cared for generations of patients,” he says. “I want people to say that about Dr. Voigt.”