by Sunny Layne
WATERLOO (KWWL) -- All doctors work to heal patients, but one doctor has made it personal, seeing the same patients for generations. She has also served nearly ten medical missions to Jamaica, Haiti, and Mississippi, much of it on her own dime.
Meet Dr. Patricia Connell is someone you should know.
"Hi Kathleen, how are you doing darling? So good to see you."
Doctor Patricia Connell has the healing touch.
"Just want to listen to your heart and lungs to see if everything is okay."
For 39 years now, she has cared for patients, their children, and their children's children.
"I just love her," patient Kathleen Higgins said. "I just come to her and have been coming to her for 31 years. She's kept me healthy, I can't ask for more than that."
"She listens to people and cares about people," nurse Thres Sadler said.
Building relationships is a trademark of Dr. Connell's, like watching over 92-year-old Kathleen Higgins for more than three decades.
"Sometimes as doctors do they run a little behind," Sadler said. "But patients are very understanding because they know that when their turn comes, she will spend some quality time with them as she's done with previous patients."
Ever since a childhood summer vacation in Jamaica, Connell felt called to spread her special brand of caring
"I was really impressed with the barefoot children in the dirt-floored huts," she said.
She determined to become a doctor and she never looked back.
"The people you serve give more than you give to them," she said. "Far more."
She has now made three medical mission trips to Jamaica, five to Haiti, and two to Okalona, Mississippi, using her own vacation time, her own funds, and the support of St. Ed's Church and other donors.
And amid all of this, she says her family comes first.
"I wanted to do both, but if I had to pick or choose, my family would come first," she said.
She often worked part time when her children were young, and so now with five grandchildren, she has decided to retire to spend time with them.
But her legacy of healing continues. Her nurse Thres Sadler will help train new residents.
"Now I am going to help four residents hopefully become doctors like Dr. Connell."
"I just couldn't get a better doctor," 92-year-old Higgins said.
"God bless you," Dr. Connell said.
Even though she's retired, Dr. Connell will return each week to visit medical residents and patients. She has two daughters who are physicians as well.
Reporter: Sunny Layne