Every month, we feature a physician as an opportunity for the community to learn more about the great doctors on staff at Little Company of Mary Hospital. This month we had the chance to talk with Dr. Laisvyde Smajkic, a Rheumatologist with Little Company of Mary’s Medical Group (Outpatient Care Center, 6700 West 95th St., Oak Lawn, IL). Read on to get to know Dr. Smajkic, including her passion for her work, her advice for healthy living, and even her interesting hobbies.
Dr. Laisvyde Smajkic
Medical School: Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania
Residency: John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County
Fellowship: Northwestern University
Specialty: Rheumatology, Internal Medicine
Why did you decide to become a physician?
From a very young age, I was drawn to understand how the human body works. I was always interested in science. However, there was more that moved me to choose the profession of physician, and today I know it is more important than any knowledge that I have acquired through my extensive medical education. It is the spiritual reward of being able to improve health, to shorten or abolish a patient’s suffering, to accelerate the healing.
How did you choose your specialty?
Rheumatology has been one of the few specialties of medicine that has experienced very rapid advancement in the field within the last few decades. It has been wonderful to follow all these recent diagnostic and therapeutic inventions that made such a progress in the care of rheumatology patients. There is so much more to know, invent, improve, and uncover in the specialty though. Mystery is still present, and I hope one day we, rheumatologists, will not only know how to treat—I hope we will understand much deeper why autoimmune conditions start in the first place, why patients start developing inflammation directed toward their own body.
What do you enjoy most about being a physician?
I enjoy all aspects of being a physician: the diagnostic part (being able to diagnose the condition accurately, which I believe is extremely important); delivering my knowledge and expertise during the treatment and follow up phase; and also, I value tremendously my patients’ trust in me in being allowed to participate in their healing process.
What is your philosophy of care?
I strive to provide my expertise and serve my patients the best I can while identifying their unique situation, needs and wishes. There is no one universal effective recipe for all, as we are all unique. I aim for patients’ improved quality of life while being sincere, open and upfront with all options available. Although I am practitioner of conventional western medicine, I have a deep interest in and am open to eastern medicine philosophy. I do not oppose but rather judiciously support patients wishing to incorporate so-called alternative treatment modalities.
What is the number one advice you give your patients for healthy living?
I believe balance and moderation are the most important things people can adopt in their lifestyles. Whether it’s with diet, exercise or even their mindset and beliefs, it is never healthy to go to extremes. I recommend a minimally processed diet full of fresh vegetables and fruits (while scientists still argue which one—low-fat or whole-fat, or Atkins or Paleo diets are better), regular physical activity and any mental experience that lifts the mood and brings positivity; if practiced daily, I believe these things could make a huge impact for everyone. Interval de-stressing, whether in spa, concert or theatre, is important as well.
What is the best thing Little Company of Mary has to offer patients?
Little Company of Mary has all the features of the best hospital. It has great doctors of almost every specialty, top nurses, state-of-the-art technology, and most of all, every person who works here has a smile on his or her face and a sincere heart, which goes along with the hospital’s spiritual heritage.
If you hadn’t become a physician, what would you be doing?
I think there is no better fitting profession for me than a physician. It incorporates everything that I value. When growing up though, I also was interested in architecture and arts. I could see myself in any wellness and healing arts-related field.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the office?
I savor every moment with my family, my two still-young kids. I keep myself physically (and mentally) active with regular tennis, Pilates and martial arts. At least once a year my entire family goes skiing. I play piano and enjoy books.
Learn more about rheumatology from Dr. Smajkic.
Dr. Laisvyde Smajkic is currently accepting new patients. If you’d like to make an appointment to visit Dr. Smajkic, call (708) 974-7350.