After 40 years of providing medical service, Dr. Richard Campana of Williamsburg is hanging up his white coat. To preserve the memories of those 40 years, he created a time capsule in his garage.
The time capsule contains medical equipment he used during those 40 years, a treasure-house of medical books, diplomas and walls covered with photographs and newspaper articles related to his medical practice.
“What stands out in my memory of providing medical service for 33 years at my clinic, the First Med of Williamsburg on Second Street, are all the patients,” said Campana in a recent interview with the Gazette. “I have treated about everyone in town, including old classmates, neighbors, young and old.”
This, however, wasn’t a given.
“I had been working at an urgent care clinic in Newport News and saw how successful it was,” Dr. Campana recalled. “I then had this idea that an Urgent Care clinic in Williamsburg would be ideal with all the tourists in town, and the only current walk-in medical treatment services was the local emergency room.”
I asked how his clinic was received by the public.
“The public loved the idea, but the local community hospital did not,” he said. “In fact, the local community hospital decided they would let their ER group of doctors open a private Urgent Care Center, without the hospital being involved.
“Then they decided to build their Urgent Care Center across the street from my clinic. I didn’t back down and the local hospital, under much negative press in The Virginia Gazette, decided to sell the land they had intended to build the clinic on.”
Campana has always been concerned about the problem of opioid addiction.
“I became interested in treating opioid addiction when I saw how many folks were addicted to opioids and how limited treatment options were for these patients,” he said.
Since 2004, he has been certified to administer Suboxone, an drug approved in the treatment of opioid dependency. Another is Methadone, an old stand-by med that has been used since 1965 and has saved millions of lives.
Campana has transformed himself into a psychologist with an emphasis on opioid addiction treatment. “I am a Board Certified Addiction Specialist, which is the same type of specialty as Addiction Psychiatry.”
Now he is in the process of writing a book about his experience treating addicts.
“My main purpose is to educate the public about the real facts of substance use disorders, especially opioid use disorder. I try not to use words like ‘drug addict’ or ‘junkies,’ as this diminishes the nature of this disease. We don’t call diabetics sugar addicts. We need to use proper medical terms to define addiction disorders and this will help significantly legitimize addiction disorders as a real disease,” he said.
Campana is also a licensed pilot who recently purchased an airplane and plans to use it for a special purpose.
“I wish to use it to ferry dogs to shelters that will keep them alive until they are adopted. My son, Rich and I, are both licensed pilots. Rich is training to become a commercial airline pilot. I bought a Piper Arrow airplane so he and I can start transporting shelter dogs.
“We are a transport service that is offered free of charge to anyone who needs to have a dog transported from a bad situation, (high-kill shelter) to a good situation (no-kill shelter) or a family who wants to have a dog.”
By all indications, he will end his medical practice on a high note.
“My 40 year time capsule is the depository of my medical career starting when I entered medical school in 1979. I wanted to capture the legacy of my medical career and put it on display in my garage.”
Shatz, is a Williamsburg resident He is the author of “Reports from a Distant Place,” the compilation of his selected columns. The book is available at the Bruton Parish Shop and Amazon.com.