The vascular surgeon who’s been in practice for more than twenty years, runs the Vascular Surgery department at RGH, which oversees a network of five area hospitals. He credits RGH and his amazing team of partner
Surgeons, Physician Assistants, Nurses, front end staff and schedulers to keep the massive department running smoothly.
“I am thankful to have such a supportive and amazing team to keep it all together for me. I show up to work and there are people telling me where I need to be. This wouldn’t work if we didn’t have this staff making it all happen,” says Riggs. A humble and down to earth family man, Dr. Riggs has built an illustrious career, and was recently recognized nationally as a 2017 Top Doctor.The award is given to “healthcare practitioners who have demonstrated clinical excellence while delivering the highest standards of patient care (PR New Channel).” He is highly renowned in his field and very well respected by colleagues and the Rochester community as a whole.
When he’s not in the operating room, Dr. Riggs can be found at home spending time with his wife and two children. He’s a dedicated family man and makes sure he soaks up all the time he can with his two teenagers. The family enjoys vacationing at the beach together and recently learned how to surf as a family! He and his son enjoy catching the big waves off the coast of North Carolina’s Wrightsville Beach. Are you ready to follow Dr. Riggs through a typical day? Let’s go!
4:30AM- UP AND AT ‘EM In his Rochester area home June 1, Riggs wakes up naturally, without an alarm clock. “I couldn’t sleep late if you paid me to do it because my body just wants to be up in the morning”, remarks Riggs. After some coffee and reading the news on his laptop, Riggs is joined downstairs by his daughter. “It’s a time when its only us and we talk about life or review homework if she has questions,” he says.
6:00AM- GYM TIME! Did you think a leading vascular surgeon would skip the gym? I think not. If you’re not making time in your life to get some physical activity in your day, start making time for it. After reading what the rest of Dr. Riggs’ day is like, you’ll lose your excuse of “I’m too busy.” If he can make time for it, so can you!
6:45AM- THE START OF A LONG DAY AT THE HOSPITAL Riggs arrives at the hospital early to catch up on any problems or field questions from his staff. He is able to sneak in a patient visit before he has to be in the OR at
7:30AM. Since it’s Thursday, he’ll be in surgery for most of the day. If it were Monday, he’d spend the majority of his time seeing patients in the office. “We run a high volume of surgeries, so that means a larger number of patients that require following before and after surgery. I have 6 PAs in the hospital and a similar number of midlevel providers in the outpatient setting, so there is a constant stream of questions and updates to be managed.” Because it’s Thursday, Dr. Riggs will perform anywhere from 6-8 surgeries today. He will treat conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, critical limb ischemia, peripheral vascular disease, and aortic aneurysms to name just a few. The surgeries are strenuous and can take a toll physically, especially on his neck and back. Dr. Riggs remarks, “Surgeons that work in surgical telescopes all day have chronic problems with the position of their bodies for long periods.” He must take care to maintain an even pace and ensure that his diet habits best support his body. He needs to feel his best so he can expertly perform each surgery.
1:00PM – LUNCH BREAK! Speaking of diet habits, Dr. Riggs will try to grab a quick bite between surgery. He jokes, “I eat the same thing every day and the staff often starts preparing it when they see me in line!” Lunch today (and most days!) is a grilled chicken breast and a green salad. Dr. Riggs tries to avoid carbs and does not eat sweets, either! He sticks to a mostly anti-inflammatory diet, with plenty of vegetables, berries, and nuts. When I asked him his best health tip diet for the average American (I’m talking to you, Rochester Woman Online reader!), he said, “to put it simply, try to limit simple carbohydrates and sugar! I’m talking white flours, sugars, breads, pasta, and pizza.”
Today, Dr. Riggs was able to get a quick meeting in during his lunch break. Some days, meetings won’t happen due to how jam packed the surgery schedule is. For now, it’s back to surgery!
2:00PM- BACK TO THE OR The afternoon is filled with more surgeries. Depending on the needs of his patients, his schedule may fill up with one or two add-ons at the end of his day. Good natured and dedicated to his patients, Dr. Riggs will operate until the very last required case is finished, sometimes well into the evening!
7:00PM- FAMILY TIME! Riggs makes it home in time to catch dinner with his family. After dinner, he helps his son and daughter with their studies. It’s finals week and the tension is running high at the moment! Since the Rochester weather is cooperating tonight, he and his wife head out for a walk around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, it’s his night to be on call, so Dr. Riggs may get called in during the night to operate for an emergency. His practice has four providers and someone is on call 24/7. Every fourth night and every fourth weekend, he will be on call for the service.
10:00PM- LIGHTS OUT! Dr. Riggs jokingly admits that his bedtime is “pretty boring.” Can you blame him for going to bed by 10:00 after a long day of operating, knowing that 4:30AM comes exceedingly quick? Hardly. Phew! That’s a wrap! I’m tired just recapping his day for you all! He credits his family, colleagues, and RGH community for the support they give to him each day. Dr. Riggs loves being a part of the greater Rochester community and is proud to call this city home. He is most attached to the people here and remarks that the RGH community has become family to him.