In honor of Memorial Day and Independence Day, we are sharing stories this summer of our amazing doctors who have served as members of the U.S. military. These veterans now dedicate their time to treating our patients at Columbia Skin Clinic. We thank them for their service and appreciate everything they do for our patients every day.
Dr. Richard Laws comes from a multi-generational family of military service members. That family history, along with the desire to serve his country, scholarship opportunities, travel and comradery, is what drew Dr. Laws to the U.S. Army.
In Dr. Laws view, the military has had a significant impact on how he treats patients at Columbia Skin Clinic. He states, “I try to treat every patient as if they’re the most important person I see that day.”
One of the biggest challenges Dr. Laws faced while in the Army was learning to manage the uncertainty and some of the red tape that is associated with being part of a large organization. There is a lot of “hurry up, and wait” that requires patience and flexibility. He learned that ultimately the military is not a big conglomerate of regulations, but a network of individuals, hopefully working for the advancement of the group. During his time in the military, he became an Army Major and served as Chief of the Dermatology Clinic at Winn Army Community Hospital in Fort Stewart, GA. He was deployed to Germany for two years, working at a General Dispensary there. He also worked at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. During Dr. Laws’ time serving as a military doctor, he saw every type of case from morning sick call with line units to leprosy, leishmaniasis and severe medication reactions.
Military experience changed Dr. Laws as a person by reinforcing his ability to adapt to different situations. He says, “I grew up with many different groups of people – both in age, ethnicity and income level, and the military has reinforced the value of that diversity. It has also increased my appreciation for the opportunities we have in this country.”
When asked about his favorite aspect of service, he said it was definitely the friendships. “There is an instant common bond among people in the service, along with a desire to help one another.” He now enjoys the military-style comradery of the doctors at Columbia Skin Clinic. With such a large military veteran presence within the practice, he says there is an emphasis for serving patients and the community, along with support for each other. He goes on to say: “There is an appreciation of the legacy and reputation of this clinic dating back to Dr. Richard Allison and carried on by the recently retired and current partners.”
Dr. Laws says of his military experience, “It was an honor to serve.” He believes that when you genuinely feel that way, you look back on the experience as very positive.
Dr. Laws practices in the Columbia, Irmo and Camden offices. Contact us today to make an appointment with Dr. Laws.